Thousands Took to the Streets of France

Thousands Took to the Streets of France

From Paris to Marseilles, protesters swarmed the streets in France to condemn the new ‘Global Security‘ bill. But what does the bill actually provide?

The most problematic is article 24, it introduces up to a year in prison and a maximum 45,000€ (£41,000) fine for “disseminating by any means or medium whatsoever, with the aim of harming their physical or psychological integrity, the image of the face or any other identifying element of an officer of the national gendarmerie when engaged in a police operation”. This means it is not possible for journalists, other independent live streamers or just a passer-by to film the police when they are “in operation” and with the intention to harm their physical or psychological integrity. It is also forbidden to share videos and pictures on public platforms (social media, blogs etc.). This article is going to be reviewed and rewritten by a commission, composed of magistrates and qualified specialists, created especially for this bill. But who decides what is harming someone’s integrity? If there is violence from the police against a person or demonstrators, will the journalists or live streamers be able to film that violence? Can the police stop them from documenting the event because they believe it harms them physically or psychologically? The article is very evasive on the subject which leaves it to the judge to interpret the text strictly or broadly.

On surveillance, there is article 21 that authorises policemen to film interventions with “mobile cameras”, which are directly transmitted to a command post controlled by the State. Article 22 authorises the deployment of drones to monitor public and private places, coupled with an authorisation for facial recognition. Mass surveillance controlled by the State, “Big Brother is watching you” has never been so real.

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