The French Parliament has voted to lend an overwhelming support to a new bill that will pave the way for sweeping new surveillance powers in the wake of January's terror attacks in Paris.
Despite opposition from green and hard-left MPs, the bill received an overwhelming backing from a majority of MPs from the Socialist and rightwing UMP parties, who claimed that it was necessary to tackle the terror threat. The bill was passed in the national assembly by 438 votes to 86, with a handful of no votes from Socialist MPs.
The new bill will allow intelligence agencies to tap phones and emails without seeking permission from a judge and to place cameras and recording devices in private homes. They would also be able to install "keylogger devices" that record every key stroke on a targeted computer in real time. The authorities will be able to keep recordings for a month and metadata for five years, reported The Guardian.
Rights groups have lashed out at the new bill by arguing that it would legalise highly intrusive surveillance methods and violate individual privacy and freedom.
Civil liberties groups have launched a campaign to oppose the bill under the banner '24 hours before 1984,' in reference to George Orwell's dystopian novel about life under an all-knowing dictatorial regime. Amnesty International too, has warned of "extremely large and intrusive powers" without judicial controls.