France adopts new surveillance law

Francois Hollande, French PM

The French Parliament has adopted a controversial surveillance law aimed at broadening eavesdropping of terrorism suspects, despite protests from privacy advocates and concern about US-style massive data sweeps.

The vote in the National Assembly, months in the making, came as France was decrying revelations less than a day earlier that the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on three French presidents and senior officials.

The law will not take effect until a court rules on whether it abides by France’s constitution.

The law will entitle intelligence services to place recording devices in suspects’ homes and beacons on their cars without prior authorisation from a judge. It would also force communication and internet firms to allow intelligence services to install electronic boxes to record metadata from all internet users in France.

Earlier, French President Francois Hollande said he has spoken with President Barack Obama about the revelations of US eavesdropping on French leaders.

He added that Mr Obama reiterated promises to stop spying tactics considered “unacceptable between allies”.

Mr Hollande said in a statement that the two men spoke by telephone after the release of WikiLeaks documents about NSA intercepts of conversations involving the French President and his two predecessors between 2006 and 2012.

Mr Obama made a similar pledge after Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance powers in 2013.

Mr Obama and Mr Hollande discussed “the principles that should govern relations between allies in the domain of intelligence”, the French President’s statement added.

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