The French Parliament approves controversial surveillance bill

In an attempt to prevent terrorist attacks, the French Parliament has approved a new surveillance law that gives unprecedented access to intelligence agencies. According to the BBC, the new bill was drafted three days after the Charlie Hebdo killings. While the government insists that the intelligence-gathering systems will monitor suspicious activities, defenders of civil liberties believe it allows the state to carry out mass surveillance without distinction. Despite the debate, the decision to pass the bill was almost unanimous. Both the ruling Socialists and opposition voted in favor of it.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls says the bill is not like America's Patriot Act. But, the new data collection tactics seem equally intrusive. Internet service providers will now be forced to make massive amounts of metadata available to the intelligence agencies. A nine-person committee will watch over the surveillance activities and will be able to advise the Prime Minister, but it won't have the power to overrule him. The law has been fast tracked and is expected to be in the statute books by July.

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