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.
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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.
Editor's Note: The 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris highlighted not only the terrorist threat to Europe, but also the many European failings in intelligence and border security. Marc Hecker of the French Institute for International Relations identifies the wide range of problems Europe faces and the need for more resources, more harmonization, and less free riding.
Andrew Lebovich comes on the show to discuss the various jihadi groups that have been active in Mali over the past few years. Some of the topics covered include:
Editor’s Note: Terrorism's biggest impact is rarely in the violence of the attack itself. Rather, it is the government’s response -- for better or for worse -- that often determines whether a terrorist attack will succeed on a strategic level. Looking at the November attacks in Paris, Colin Geraghty of Georgetown argues that the French government is moving in the wrong direction, playing into the narrative of the Islamic State and making the terrorism problem worse in the long-run.
By land, by sea and, occasionally, by air, they come carrying with them all what they have left in this bedlam world, which is often nothing more than the clothes on their back. They come seeking shelter and the promise of a better future for themselves, their children and their siblings. Many of them have probably lost a family member or more, many more, to Syria's five-year old conflict, and they have seen many horrors on their way. They arrive weary, injured and in some ways even broken and in need of healing, in need of compassion.
In 2013, in the early days of the Snowden leaks, Harvard Law School professor and former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith reflected on the increase in NSA surveillance post 9/11. He wrote:
Yesterday, French President François Hollande signed into law a bill that extends the state of emergency for three months and expands the government’s already broad police powers. Passed in haste, the law avoided a preliminary constitutional review. Meanwhile, the government has urged other far-reaching legal and policy changes to enhance counterterrorism.
Russia now says that it believes that ISIS was behind the crash of a commercial Russian aircraft, Metrojet 9268, over the Sinai desert on October 31 which killed the 224 people on board. Like the Paris attacks, the Metrojet bombing targeted civilian lives. And in the Russian case, those lives included 25 children. Russia has vowed to find and punish the terrorists responsible.