It’s hard to tell if Marine Le Pen’s official campaign website is a political ad or a perfume commercial. We are on a beach, Marine in a marine scene—so to speak—her blonde hair and cape aflutter in the Norman breeze as she gazes from the rocky coast out to sea. What do you see out there, Marine? A chance, now that you and the British are being conveniently disentangled from one another, for another shot at old timey Anglo-French hostilities? A fellow woman in arms in Theresa May? Or do you see dinghies in the Mediterranean?
Latest in France
The recent Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report on Russia’s efforts to “undermine public faith in the US democratic process” through “an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election” also warns that similar influence operations could be waged against US allies, including France (where I’m from) and Germany. Both countries are set to hold elections in 2017 that will be crucial to the future of the EU.
At Foreign Policy, Keith Johnson and Dan De Luce report on a new European pushback against China's South China Sea policies:
France has thrown its hat into the acrimonious South China Sea debate, calling for more European naval patrols in a contested waterway that is at the center of a growing dispute between China and the United States and its Asian allies.
Last week, Google announced it was appealing the French data authority’s decision to fine Google for refusing to delete links globally. With the right to be forgotten (RTBF) debate thus back in the news, this post takes the opportunity to map the lay of the land to date.
The Extraterritoriality Dispute
As the U.S. Congress considers encryption legislation, the French Parliament continues to move forward with enhanced penalties for companies that fail to aid sufficiently the authorities in gaining access to electronic data during a criminal investigation.
On March 30, President François Hollande announced that he was abandoning a constitutional amendment that would have enshrined state of emergency powers and stripped French citizenship from convicted terrorists.
Just days after the November 13 attacks in Paris, President Hollande promised to amend the constitution in a speech to Congress assembled at Versailles. The speech met with applause from across the political spectrum, but political divisions have since dealt a blow to Hollande’s project.
Editor's Note: This piece originally appears on Markaz.
Legislators in France are watching closely the fight between Apple and the FBI, but, in the meantime, the French National Assembly has amended a pending counterterrorism bill to impose heavy penalties on technology companies that fail to cooperate in decrypting communications relating to terrorism investigations.
On Friday, February 19, the Constitutional Council upheld two articles of the state-of-emergency law—meeting bans and warrantless searches—as constitutional, but struck down a provision allowing the police to copy data when conducting such searches. Separately, the French Parliament extended the state of emergency through the end of May.
The National Assembly voted this week to adopt an amendment that would enshrine the state of emergency in the French Constitution and extend denaturalization to dual-nationals born in France who are convicted of terrorism.
The vote in the National Assembly was 317 for, 199 against, with 55 abstentions. The Senate is expected to take up the bill in mid-March—for constitutional reforms, a four-week delay is required between reviews by each house.