Home News The French National Assembly passed a law against foreign interference

The French National Assembly passed a law against foreign interference

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The French National Assembly passed a law against foreign interference

France’s National Assembly (the lower house of parliament) on Wednesday approved a bill to combat foreign interference. At the same time, MPs supported the use of an experimental online algorithm to monitor suspicious activity, reports AFP.

The draft law, which was presented by the government of President Emmanuel Macron’s Revival party, was supported by 171 MPs, and 25 were against. The draft still needs to be approved by the upper chamber of the parliament – the Senate.

Terrorist attacks

Monitoring of the online space by means of an algorithm has been used in France since 2015. However, so far it has only been used to search for potential “terrorists”.

The new law, if approved, will extend this procedure to identify possible perpetrators of foreign interference. The proposal envisages a four-year trial period.

While the method has had unclear results in anti-terrorist efforts, according to MP Sacha Houlié for the centrist party Obrod, it could be more useful for detecting foreign agents.

Private life

Left-leaning politicians fear long-term interference in the private lives of ordinary people. “You are creating instruments for the general surveillance of the population,” warned Antoine Léaument of the far-left Intransigent France party.

The law requires that entities promoting foreign interests be registered in the relevant register. Otherwise, they will face sanctions. These subjects would include countries outside the European Union and companies mostly owned or financed from abroad, as well as foreign political parties.

Based on the law, it will be possible to freeze the financial assets of persons, companies or entities that are found to have committed foreign interference.

The French parliamentary committee for intelligence services warned of the “ubiquitous and permanent threat” of interference from abroad already in November and called for the adoption of new legislation. According to him, the current capabilities of the secret services are not sufficient to face threats in the long term.

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