Well, it looks like the guilty until proven innocent is a bit of a blown up myth/propaganda. I have done some research that backs up what you state. It appears Napoleon was concerned about improper imprisonment before trial and explicitly states you are innocent until you are declared guilty by a cort of law.
However, now that I think about it... the way it was explained to me was that the difference was in the burden of proof. In the US, guilt has to be proven with evidence beyond a 'reasonable doubt'. In other words, if there is still a plausible scenario that leaves the accused innocent, he should legally walk. It was explained to me that in French law, it works differently where you have to do a much clearer job of proving your innocence.
I believe that is where the phrase 'guilty until proven innocent' come from because you do actually have to prove your innocence in court while in the U.S, you just have to cast a reasonable doubt on the prosecution.
Interesting to hear that the French Academy doesn't really mandate the French language as much as it probably thinks it does. I do feel that French is a much more consistent language than English is. I don't know how much of that is just from the evolution and influences of the language or how much of it stems from the French Academy.
Thank you for spotting my typo and interpreting it correctly.
I find it interesting that you bring up a lack of concern over privacy. In the U.S., I think there are a lot of concerns when it comes to privacy, especially surrounding identity theft and government and law enforcement agency.
Some of the things that occurred after 9/11 may give a different apparency, such as the establishment of our Department of Homeland Security. What a great way for paranoid rulers to keep their eyes on the populace.
I think you will find different Americans have widely varying opinions on these issues.
I don't know if this is an issue in France but in America, your average citizen is not good at analyzing data and its sources for reliability. People are willing to accept anything at face value if it comes from a 'proper' source, such as the news media. Thus, we wind up with a lot of things as public 'knowledge' that are really kind of crazy.