According to the organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), the bill could open the back door to a surveillance society. Among the dangers identified by the NGO are the proposed new powers of the Prime Minister, who would be able to authorize surveillance operations covering a much broader range of objectives than those permitted under international law, the lack of judicial supervision and the lack of transparency.
New technologies including microphones, trackers and spy cameras will be used by the agent to carry out spying activities. They would also be able to intercept conversations typed on a keyboard in real time.
All these interceptions would be authorized by the Prime Minister, without the prior approval of a judge, and would be authorized after the fact by a new administrative authority, the National Commission for the Control of Intelligence Techniques (CNCTR).
The companies protested that installing “black boxes” on their networks as required by the law will “destroy a major segment of the economy,” and if passed it will force them to “move our infrastructure, investments, and employees where our customers will want to work with us.”
International human rights law views the protection of national security and public safety as justifying surveillance. HRW have warned that the French laws are extending towards laying the foundations of a surveillance state.
HRW claims that wide-ranging authorities would be granted to French prime minister to run surveillance ops practically unconstrained by the “rather toothless” new Commission.
Surveillance actions which may involve hacking and malware could be renovated frequently without judicial scrutiny or notification to the target. Data acquired through surveillance may be retained for five years and in some situations even for a longer period.