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France set to unveil anti-terrorism bill

An anti-terrorism bill that would enable security services in France to increase the use of a controversial algorithm technique to detect potential threats is to be presented to the French cabinet.

Presented by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, the text reinforces an arsenal of provisions that already exist but that the executive wants to be set in stone. The controversial measure within it is in regards to the so-called ‘algorithm’ technique which allows the automated processing of connection data to detect threats while extending it to web addresses (URLs).

Beyond that, the bill would also increase the time allowed for collecting computer data to two months from one month currently and for the authorities to store that ‘dead’ data for up to five years for research and development purposes and to advance the artificial intelligence of the intelligence services' ‘black boxes’.

Darmanin has stated that two of the 35 terrorist attacks foiled in France since 2017 had been ‘thanks to the digital traces’ left by the perpetrators and that nine recent attacks were not preventable with current resources.

The expected announcement comes just days after a policewoman was stabbed to death in Rambouillet, some 60km southwest of Paris, in a suspected terror attack. The attacker, who reportedly came to France from Tunisia several years ago, was shot dead by police.

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