[New publication] Countering cyber terrorism in a time of 'war on words’: the case of FrancePublished 27 October 2020
A lack of legal clarity, an extensive administrative discretion, and the related limited judicial review are some of the problems with France’s counter-terrorism policy to regulate online content, writes Asser researcher Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi in a contribution to a new publication of the Hague Program for Cyber Norms (HPCN), edited by Fabio Cristiano, Dennis Broeders and Daan Weggemans.
The publication ‘Countering cyber terrorism in a time of ‘war on words’: Kryptonite for the protection of digital rights?’ looks at how counter cyber terrorism legislation and policy unfold at the national and regional level. It takes the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council as case studies, as these states have emerged as prominent actors of international cyber security. A case of the European Union has also been included to reflect on the regional level and the extent to which policy making efforts can be coordinated.
Lack of legal clarity and extensive administrative discretion
Rebecca's policy-focused contribution explores the case of France. She identifies four problems in the choices made by France to regulate online content. Three substantial issues are the lack of legal clarity, the extensive administrative discretion, and the related limited judicial review. She further finds the way in which the French government pushed for the adoption of these measures also problematic in a democratic society.
Mignot-Mahdavi: “France did not make explicit that its counter-terrorism policy is based on the ideas that internet (i) catalyses risks and (ii) must be used to intensify surveillance practices. This choice might have made the law and policy making process easier: it somehow ensured that no vivid public discussion would take place on the specificities of surveillance and speech regulation on the web (i.e. the anticipatory turn that it facilitates).”
Mignot-Mahdavi warns that these issues of form and substance are “problematic in a democratic, rule-governed society and potentially very harmful for social cohesion and institutional trust in the long run”.
Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi is a researcher in the Asser research strand 'Human Dignity and Human Security in International and European Law'. Her work reflects on counterterrorism and on the evolving legal and policy capacity to deal with security threats, where new forms of non-state transnational risk, counter-risk strategy and technology are in play.
“France: issues of form and substance in the national strategy of terrorist threat anticipation in cyberspace”, Rebecca Mignot-Mahdavi in Cristiano, F., D. Broeders and D. Weggemans (eds.) (2020), Countering cyber terrorism in a time of ‘war on words’: Kryptonite for the protection of digital rights? The Hague: The Hague Program for Cyber Norms. October 2020
On Thursday 29 October 2020 from 16:00-17:00 (CET), the HPCN organises a panel debate on the publication Countering cyber terrorism in a time of 'war on words': Kryptonite for the protection of digital rights? Sign up here.