Spent yesterday reporting on debate about a French law that increases the means of high tech surveillance.
Besides getting a chance to see the sumptuous interior of the Assemblee Nationale (where the press room has gold festooned napoleonic decorations) I got a chance to look at the French attitude towards police power versus individual liberties.
* Increased video surveillance around public buildings, companies, places of worship and transportation centers like train stations and airports. Current restrictions on such surveillance mean that France employs fewer than 100,000 cameras; Britain has more than four million.
* Police officials and prosecutors in France would also have easier access to the data supplied to obtain car registrations, driving licenses, identity cards and passports.
* Internet cafés that allow anonymous surfing would be required to keep a record for up to one year of all sites visited.
Such information collection has raised concerns at the government-financed National Commission for Data and Liberty.
Is this intrusive or necessary for safety?