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Big Brother or vital protection? French MPs set to OK spy bill

Four months after jihadist attacks in Paris killed 17 people, French MPs are set to approve a controversial bill giving spies sweeping new surveillance powers deemed “heavily intrusive” by critics. The draft law, which is expected to sail through a vote in the lower house National Assembly on Tuesday, has sparked a firestorm of protest from rights groups, which claim it infringes on privacy. They will be protesting near parliament on Monday under the banner “24 hours before 1984” in reference to George Orwell’s dystopian novel about life under an all-knowing dictatorship. The new law will allow authorities to spy on the digital and mobile communications of anyone linked to a “terrorist” enquiry without prior authorisation from a judge, and forces internet service providers and phone companies to give up data upon request.

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