Intelligence Law: “How do I explain to my customers that their data is no longer secure?”
In recent days, a joint statement has been circulating on the web against the law on intelligence and generalized surveillance of the Internet. Why this mobilization of the movement “Neither pigeons nor spies”? What is behind the first measures passed last week by the National Assembly? Why are we, digital entrepreneurs, so worried about this law?
Let’s keep it simple. Would you agree to have microphones in your house, whether your word processing software was continuously scanned or even your children’s phones were tapped? Of course not! And yet, it will happen to all of us in the near future, when the first decrees to implement the law on intelligence force us, digital entrepreneurs. The hour is serious because this law, under cover of an anti-terrorist text, attacks my fundamental freedoms as a citizen, but also my values and economic prospects as a business leader.
Let’s think about tomorrow. The challenge to the law on intelligence crystallized around the “Neither pigeons, nor spies” movement. Unanimous movement in the “digital” sector because we are better placed than anyone to see two threats arrive: the impact of such a law on the French economy, in the short term, and the possible abuses of a surveillance system massive, in the medium term. I remain convinced that the first threat was not really measured by our policies; as for the second, I am afraid that it is not perceived as such for our institutions which are losing control over reality.
Let’s prevent an economic catastrophe. The Patriot Act has created difficulties for American digital players, no longer able to ensure the confidentiality of their customers’ data. The French have been able to cultivate this advantage as a commercial spearhead: the FrenchTech movement is also a real success and proves that the French rooster can proudly bend his chest. But with the law on intelligence, it is all the players in our territory who will soon be discredited internationally, as the site clearly states. http://ni-pigeons-ni-espions.fr. Indeed, French hosts will have to relocate their data centers (and their jobs), our Internet of Things champions will have to explain that the sensor connected in your living room is not a spy (although it will be), the editors of online software will have to convince professionals that they do not have to fear industrial espionage (even if they are not sure)… For my company, Cloud is Mine, which supports SMEs with conviction in the cloud to enable them to benefit from new growth drivers; how to explain that their data is no longer secure today? It is not only digital players who are affected; but also these 1,500,000 companies which are becoming more competitive and developing thanks to online software.
Let’s stop the attack on our freedoms. Fear should not guide our choices and be at the origin of laws that go against the freedoms that millions of us have defended by taking to the streets on January 11, 2015. At this rate, the end of all individual freedom is programmed because our society abounds in devices connected to the Internet which are potentially as many means of analyzing our behavior. And if you have some affinities with the algorithm provided by law – unknown to date – you will even have the chance to be watched. The law offers the intelligence services the possibility of placing us under surveillance for “the prevention of terrorism”. Certainly. But also to spy on us for relatively interpretable reasons such as “the defense of the major interests of France”. Neither you nor I will have access to this list of major interests of France which remain, of course, at the sole discretion of the Government. Besides, I potentially risk, through this plea, activating this famous algorithm after having used a few keywords: terrorist, government… Is my webcam already filming me? With this new law, no one will be able to say it tomorrow; and this in total disagreement with the CNIL which remains an independent but unfortunately powerless safeguard.
Navigate, we are filmed. Our politicians are generally unaware of the digital economy. Reports are ordered to create jobs and competitiveness … But all end up neatly in the archives. On the other hand, since 2001 and the justification of the war against terrorism to better control the masses, France has known more than 8 freedom-killing laws. Some have ended in a bitter application failure like DADVSI or Hadopi 2. What will happen to the law on intelligence? Nearly two-thirds of French people, still emotionally affected after the terrorist attacks of last January, are a priori in agreement with this law. Indeed, what could be simpler than to take advantage of the fear of our fellow citizens by carrying out a freedom-killing law a few weeks after a major attack on our territory? Let us not politically instrumentalize what brought together millions of French people! Let us work in the collective interest of our country. Yet it is the men and women of our government who protested a few years ago that the issue of individual freedoms was “kept out of public debate” …
The politics of each other do not matter to us, digital entrepreneurs. We have long been committed to helping our country move forward. We remain at the disposal of all the goodwill that will go in this direction. On the other hand, being the person who will be behind each French person when they browse the Internet is not part of this commitment.
A good hearer.
By Colin Lalouette, president of Cloud is Mine, a company specializing in cloud computing for SMEs and VSEs.