EDRI-gram reports on a surveillance project in France:
The French Government produced two new decrees published in the Official Journal on 18 October 2009 which actually resurrect the rejected EDVIGE plan to create an intelligence database with personal data.
By-passing the French Parliament, the Minister of Interior Brice Hortefeux introduced the two new decrees by practically splitting the former EDVIGE decree which was withdrawn by the Government at the end of 2008, thus creating two clones of the rejected project, as EDRi-member IRIS (Imaginons un réseau Internet solidaire) explains.
One of the texts is meant as a tool for the police to prevent harm to public safety, to “collect, store and analyze information concerning persons whose individual or collective activity indicates that it may jeopardize public safety.” Under the pretext of preventing harms to the public security, the data collected may include complete personal data ranging from nationality, profession, address or telephone numbers to physical signs, travel behaviours or geographic origin. And this is not all as the database will include also information on people who have come into contact or relation with persons deemed susceptible of performing a criminal offence. […]
The other text introduces a file of administrative investigations. It includes personal data of citizens starting with the age of 16 (the official age at which one person can be employed) in order to check out whether a person’s behaviour is compatible with the tasks he is entrusted with, for some sensitive jobs, like those in the security field. Data including political, religious, philosophical and union information with be stored for a minimum of 5 years.
Last year, France backed down on plans to expand the collection, retention and sharing of private data on citizens after a huge backlash from the public. The Associated Press said, ”Critics have collected some 130,000 signatures against the database — known by the acronym Edvige — which they contend is better suited for a police state than a modern European democracy.”