French law enforcement is reportedly weighing up proposals to restrict the use of public Wi-Fi and access to the Tor network during times of crisis, according to leaked documents from the French Ministry of Interior published by website Le Monde.
The document references two pieces of legislation, one considering rules around the current state of emergency and the other covering counter-terrorism. According to Le Monde, it also lists "all the administrative measures that police and gendarmes [French armed forces] would like to see happen".
France remains in a state of emergency following the terrorist attack by Islamic State last month, and it is expected the leaked texts could be presented to the government as soon as January 2016.
Tor, or ‘the onion router', allows anonymous communications by masking the true IP address of a user's computer. The browser provides access to the so-called dark web and is routinely used by cyber criminals and hackers in an effort to stay hidden from law enforcement.
Following the leak, the French Department of Civil Liberties and Legal Affairs has questioned whether banning Tor services would be in violation of the country's constitution. Indeed, the only nations that ban Tor services are China and Iran, with the Russian government contemplating following suit.
France ramped up its surveillance legislation in the wake of last January's attack against satirical publication Charlie Hebdo.
The new law gave police the right to snoop on the mobile communications of anyone linked to a terrorist enquiry and install spying equipment on targets without prior judicial oversight, while forcing service providers to hold metadata for five years.
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, governments around the world have debated legislation around encryption and surveillance. In the UK the government is considering enhanced legislation that would dramatically increase the snooping powers of police and cyber spooks.
Yet many security experts continue to warn of the implications of invasive surveillance laws. Most recently, firms including Mozilla, TechUK and Big Brother Watch pushed back against key sections of the proposals.
"Keeping internet users safe does not have to cost them their privacy or the integrity of communications infrastructure," warned Mozilla.
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