Personal privacy is, of course, a major issue these days, particularly when it comes to authorities gathering data in schemes such as the UK’s proposed identity card program or France’s Edvidge electronic database.
Edvidge, the French government’s new repository of information aimed at keeping an eye on citizens who it deems merit surveillance, is currently drawing mass protests two months after it was signed into law.
Among other things, it can track people from age 13 who are involved in unions, politics or who represent a threat to public order. Although those first two categories aren’t likely to attract many 13-year-olds, this hasn’t gone down too well in France.
Alluding to the new powers to record information about an individual’s appearance, finances and even friends, former education minister FranÃ§ois Bayrou said, “With just a few clicks of the mouse, any government official or civil servant will have access to intimate data”.
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So far, the main protest has been online — over 100,000 signatures are listed on the anti-Edvidge website — but more will surely follow.
According to Reuters, appeals to France’s highest courts are already underway with a view to nipping the government’s giant electronic monitor in the bud.