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The shootings at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris last January drew comparisons to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., and now the French government appears to be responding in a similar manner to its American counterpart by doubling down on surveillance.

The New York Times brought word Tuesday of an intelligence bill making its way through legislative channels that would make for some significant changes if it passes in the upper house of the French Parliament:

The measure would give French intelligence services the right to gather potentially unlimited electronic data from Internet communications, and to tap cellphones and capture text messages. It would force Internet providers to comply with government requests to sift through subscribers’ communications.

[…]The provisions, as currently outlined, would allow them to tap cellphones, read emails and force Internet providers to comply with government requests to sift through virtually all of their subscribers’ communications.

Among the types of surveillance that the intelligence services would be able to carry out is the bulk collection and analysis of metadata similar to that done by the United States’ National Security Agency.

The intelligence services could also request a right to put tiny microphones in a room or on objects such as cars or in computers or place antennas to capture telephone conversations or mechanisms that capture text messages. Both French citizens and foreigners could be tapped.

Judicial oversight of the program would be limited, the Times also noted.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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