The Senate gives the green light to the remote activation of the cameras or microphones of the telephones

Article 3 of Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti’s bill is controversial and crystallizes the concerns of the left and associations.

The Senate gave, Wednesday, June 7 in the evening, the green light to a controversial provision of the Justice bill authorizing the remote triggering of cameras or microphones of telephones in certain investigations, despite opposition from the left.

Article 3 of the bill of the Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti, examined at first reading by the senators, brings several modifications to the criminal procedure. One of them crystallizes the concerns: it plans to authorize the remote triggering of computers and other connected devices, without the knowledge of the persons concerned, with two different purposes.

On the one hand, real-time geolocation for certain offences. On the other hand, the activation of microphones and cameras to capture sound and images, which would be reserved for cases of terrorism, delinquency and organized crime.

“Safe one-upmanship”

The Freedom and Digital Observatory (OLN) denounced a “security escalation” allowing to transform any connected object into potential “snitch”. The left has tried without success to completely or partially remove provisions deemed “disproportionate”.

“These techniques are already applied”, justified the Minister of Justice, but they require the installation of beacons or microphones and cameras, which involves risks for the investigators. The layout is “surrounded by important guarantees”, he promised. Its implementation will in particular have to be approved by a judge.

Against the advice of the minister, the Senate adopted an amendment by the leader of LR senators, Bruno Retailleau, which plans to limit the possibility of using geolocation to offenses punishable by at least ten years’ imprisonment, against five years in the original text.

The left would have liked to go further, in particular in the explicit protection of journalists, in the same way as lawyers, magistrates or parliamentarians will be. Article 3 of the bill also provides for the extension of night searches for the most serious crimes.

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