France to give secret services more powers to fight terror

(AGI) Paris, Mar 17 - France has relaunched its fight againstterrorism with a law giving unprecedented powers to theintelligence services. The measure, due to be adopted by thecabinet on Thursday, provides a new legal framework for agentsin the field, protecting them from "criminal risk", authorising"activities affecting the privacy and confidentiality ofcorrespondence" and allowing the use of "special techniques"for the collection of information. Under the draft law, asanticipated by the newspaper Le Figaro, the intelligenceservices can carry out wiretaps by way of a simpleadministrative authorisation, without having to pass thescrutiny

(AGI) Paris, Mar 17 - France has relaunched its fight againstterrorism with a law giving unprecedented powers to theintelligence services. The measure, due to be adopted by thecabinet on Thursday, provides a new legal framework for agentsin the field, protecting them from "criminal risk", authorising"activities affecting the privacy and confidentiality ofcorrespondence" and allowing the use of "special techniques"for the collection of information. Under the draft law, asanticipated by the newspaper Le Figaro, the intelligenceservices can carry out wiretaps by way of a simpleadministrative authorisation, without having to pass thescrutiny of a judge. The agents can also use all the meansoffered by modern technology such as video cameras andmicrophones and "software to record data" and other tools to"locate vehicles or objects in real time". All this, of course,is part of a "new legal framework" that widens the scope ofaction of the intelligence services, protecting them from thelimitations imposed by privacy legislation. The measure,explains the French daily, also requires telephone operatorsand internet sites to participate actively in the fight againstterrorism, preserving and transmitting - on request - any dataconsidered suspect. Meanwhile, since last Sunday the Frenchauthorities have blocked access to five websites accused ofcondoning terrorism. This was the first time this has happenedin France on the basis of a security law passed last September. .