Blown To Bits

French Parliament Stands Up Against Internet Surveillance

Thursday, April 9th, 2009 by Harry Lewis

In a surprising vote, French legislators have defeated a bill that would monitor Internet communications and cut off from the Internet people accused of illegal downloading by the music and movie industries. The defeat resulted in cries of anguish from the industry spokespeople, and a promise from Sarkozy to bring it back after Easter, when more than a handful of legislators will actually be present to vote.

It’s surveillance, guys. If it’s legal to inspect everybody’s data packets because you are pretty sure somebody is sharing songs illegally, surely it should be legal to open everyone’s mail because we know that there are illegal acts carried out through the postal service. And to listen to everyone’s telephone calls because we know some people are doing bad things over the phone.

The French see these things differently, and the big fear is that ubiquitous Internet surveillance will establish a beachhead in Europe and then be transported stateside through international treaties. Watch this one closely.

Sarkozy, by the way, is fuming.

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