The French Government last week passed the first draft of a bill that would force ISPs to block access to any site, named by the Government, in order to prevent crimes. The core of the Government’s message around the bill is the prevention of child pornography (sound familiar?).
The draft bill, known as Loppsi 2, passed through the National Assembly (the parliamentary lower-house) 312 votes to 214 after the first reading. It now goes up to the Senate, where the Government has a majority, for the second reading.
Because the Government gave the bill “urgent” status, it can now be passed after just these two readings, rather than the usual four, so approval from the Senate on the next reading means the bill will soon pass into French law.
Critics of the proposed legislation are running the same arguments as opponents to mandatory ISP filtering in Australia have been for months i.e. the system is inefficient and could be the first step in wider censorship of the Internet within France.
With Germany having recently implemented their own Net censorship legislation (even though the new coalition has limited its effectiveness it still remains law) and now France hell-bent on getting their bill through the legislature, it’s a little worrying that we’re starting to see more and more precedents for Senator Conroy and the Australian Parliament, to reference in their efforts to get similar legislation passed.