Nathan Sales Advises Paris Bar on Surveillance Laws

Recently, INSCT Faculty Member Nathan Sales was asked by the leaders of the Barreau de Paris (Paris bar association) to prepare a comparative analysis of France’s new surveillance legislation.

[pullquoteright]Policymakers in France might wish to consider comparable safeguards to ensure that necessary surveillance of dangerous terrorists does not unduly interfere with fundamental rights and freedoms.”[/pullquoteright]

Sales’ analysis looks at a new law—currently being reviewed by France’s Conseil Constitutionnel (the French constitutional court)—that would expand France’s authority to conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists. Sales was asked to compare this new legislation to similar US laws, including opinions on Fourth Amendment matters and commentary on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and subsequent rulings.

Sales’ analysis has now been filed with the French constitutional court. An excerpt of the analysis is below, the full report can be read as a PDF document …

I understand that the Conseil Constitutionnel is currently reviewing a new law that would expand France’s authority to conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists. L’Ordre des avocats de Paris has asked me to prepare a short analysis comparing this legislation to the surveillance laws in the United States, especially the laws that regulate government monitoring of privileged attorney-client communications.

I hope that the following observations will be helpful as France considers how to address these important issues. In short, the new legislation broadly authorizes warrantless surveillance and appears to lack any limits on the monitoring of privileged communications between attorneys and their clients. This stands in contrast to U.S. law, which generally requires a court order for domestic surveillance and which imposes several basic restraints on the government’s ability to collect, disseminate, and use certain communications that are protected by the attorney-client privilege. Policymakers in France might wish to consider comparable safeguards to ensure that necessary surveillance of dangerous terrorists does not unduly interfere with fundamental rights and freedoms … MORE.

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