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French Gov't Runs Vast Electronic Spying Operation of Its Own 214

Freshly Exhumed writes with this news (quoting The Guardian): "France runs a vast electronic surveillance operation, intercepting and stocking data from citizens' phone and internet activity, using similar methods to the U.S. National Security Agency's Prism programme exposed by Edward Snowden, Le Monde has reported. An investigation by the French daily [en français; Google translation] found that the DGSE, France's external intelligence agency, had spied on the French public's phone calls, emails and internet activity. The agency intercepted signals from computers and phones in France as well as between France and other countries, looking not so much at content but to create a map of 'who is talking to whom,' the paper said."

Apple Revises Warranty Policies In Europe To Comply With EU Laws 156

ccguy writes "Apple revised its warranty policy in Italy last year after being hit with a €900,000 fine for not complying with an EU-mandated two-year term. The company has today revised the terms of its warranties in France, Germany and Belgium, specifying that customers are entitled to repairs and replacements of their Apple products for a full two years after purchase, and not just one as previously stated. No word yet on when the rest of the EU will see those changes, but it would now seem to be just a matter of time before other countries get the new terms as well."

Why French Govt's Attempt to Censor Wikipedia Matters 104

In the end, the Streisand Effect prevailed, as you might expect, when a French domestic intelligence agency apparently browbeat a French citizen into removing content from Wikipedia. The attention caused the Wikipedia entry on a formerly obscure military radio site (English version) to leap in popularity not only in French, but in languages where it was formerly far less likely to have been noticed at all. Lauren Weinstein makes the case, though, that this sort of move isn't just something to shrug at or assume will always end so nicely. "Even though attempts at Internet censorship will almost all fail in the end, governments and authorities have the capability to make groups' and individuals' lives extremely uncomfortable, painful, or even terminated — in the process of attempts at censorship, and equally important, by instilling fear to encourage self-censorship in the first place."

France Demands Skype Register As a Telco 209

jfruh writes "Skype made a name for itself by largely bypassing the infrastucture — and the costs, and the regulations — of the legacy telecommunications industry. But now the French telecom regulator wants to change that, at least in France. At issue is not the service's VoIP offering, but rather the Skype Out service that allows users to dial phones on traditional networks. Regulators say that this service necessitates that Skype face the same regulations as other telecoms."

French Science and Higher Education Programs Avoid Austerity 139

ananyo writes "Bucking a trend of cutting science seen elsewhere, the French government has committed to increasing spending on research and development in its draft austerity budget for 2013. France's education and research ministry gets a 2.2% boost under the proposed budget, giving it a budget of just under €23 billion (US$29 billion). Most other ministries get a cut. The upshot of the cash increase is that 1,000 new university posts will be created, no publicly funded research jobs will be cut and funding for research grants will rise (albeit less than inflation) by 1.2% to €7.86 billion. The move to spend on science during a recession is notable and means that French politicians understand that a sustainable commitment to public spending on science is vital for long-term economic growth. The situation is in stark contrast to that in the U.S. and in the UK, where a recent policy to boost hi-tech industries, unveiled with much fanfare, failed to do much for science. Meanwhile, in Australia, there's alarm over proposals to freeze research grants— a step that could jeopardize 1700 jobs."

Europe's Largest IT Company To Ban Internal Email 601

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos, Europe's Largest IT Company, wants a 'zero email' policy to be in place in 18 months, arguing that only 10 per cent of the 200 electronic messages his employees receive per day on average turn out to be useful, and that staff spend between 5-20 hours handling emails every week. 'The email is no longer the appropriate (communication) tool,' says Breton. 'The deluge of information will be one of the most important problems a company will have to face (in the future). It is time to think differently.' Instead Breton wants staff at Atos to use chat-type collaborative services inspired by social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter as surveys show that the younger generation have already all but scrapped email, with only 11 per cent of 11 to 19 year-olds using it. For his part Breton hasn't sent a work email in three years. 'If people want to talk to me, they can come and visit me, call or send me a text message. Emails cannot replace the spoken word.'"

Alcatel-Lucent Boosts Copper Broadband To 100Mbps 129

Mark.JUK writes "Telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent has today become the first-to-market with VDSL2 Vectoring technology which, it claims, will push the top broadband internet access speeds of existing copper telephone lines over 100Mbps and without needing to bond multiple lines together. Vectoring is essentially a 'noise cancellation' method (similar, in principal, to the technology found in some headphones) that works to cancel out background noise / interference (i.e. crosstalk) and can thus boost performance and reach (coverage) by between 25% and 100%."

France Outlaws Hashed Passwords 433

An anonymous reader writes "Storing passwords as hashes instead of plain text is now illegal in France, according to a draconian new data retention law. According to the BBC, '[t]he law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users' full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded.' If the law survives a pending legal challenge by Google, Ebay and others, it may well keep some major services out of the country entirely."

French Minister Sells Surveillance Legislation With Fake Benefits 51

Dangerous_Minds writes "The debate over LOPPSI 2, the legislation that would allow police to upload malware including Trojan Horses and key loggers to unwitting users without a court order, is heating up in France. Interior minister Brice Hortefeux told the media that LOPPSI 2 would stop the theft of smart phones because vendors would then be able to discontinue use of on-board SIM cards. Critics are pointing out that the theft of stolen portable phones is not covered under LOPPSI 2 in its current form. Others also point out that the discontinued use of SIM cards on stolen phones is already possible in France without the legislation. It's unclear if this is just a case of the minister not knowing what is actually in the legislation he is trying to pass."

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison