Over the years we’ve covered a lot of attempts by relatively clueless governments and politicians to enact think-of-the-children internet censorship or surveillance legislation, but there’s a law from France in the works which we think has the potential to be one of the most sinister we’ve seen yet.

It flew under our radar so we’re grateful to [0x1b5b] for bringing it to our attention, and it concerns a proposal to force browser vendors to incorporate French government censorship and spyware software in their products. We’re sure that most of our readers will understand the implications of this, but for anyone not versed in online privacy and censorship  this is a level of intrusion not even attempted by China in its state surveillance programme. Perhaps most surprisingly in a European country whose people have an often-fractious relationship with their government, very few French citizens seem to be aware of it or what it means.

It’s likely that if they push this law through it will cause significant consternation over the rest of the European continent. We’d expect those European countries with less liberty-focused governments to enthusiastically jump on the bandwagon, and we’d also expect the European hacker community to respond with a plethora of ways for their French cousins to evade the snooping eyes of Paris. We have little confidence in the wisdom of the EU parliament in Brussels when it comes to ill-thought-out laws though, so we hope this doesn’t portend a future dark day for all Europeans. We find it very sad to see in any case, because France on the whole isn’t that kind of place.

Header image: Pierre Blaché CC0.