French PM Valls rules out public Wi-Fi ban

December 11, 2015 // 12:30 p.m.

Tags: #anonymisation #anonymous #ban #france #government #manuel-valls #paris #proxy #the-onion-router-project #tor #wi-fi

Prime Minister Manuel Valls has ruled out an outright ban on public Wi-Fi access points during states of emergency, but has not detailed what steps his government plans to take in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Documents leaked earlier this week detailed new bills put forward by France's security services which would greatly extend their powers. One bill detailed plans to block access to public Wi-Fi hotspots during states of emergency to hamper villains' ability to communicate and organise, while another reached further by calling for an outright ban on all access to anonymous proxies and The Onion Router Project, also known as Tor.

The leaked plans were reportedly scheduled for debate in early January, but in an interview with BFM TV French Prime Minister Manuel Valls had one clear answer to the question of whether outright bans were on the cards: 'non.'

While Valls' response would appear to put paid to plans for outright bans, he followed up with a statement that suggests changes are still on the cards for how communications services operate within France's borders. 'The police look at all the aspects that better fight against terrorism,' Valls said in translation, 'but of course you have to take effective decisions because the only thing that matters is the effectiveness to track terrorists, to stop these hate messages.'

Details of these 'effective decisions' and how they will affect non-terrorists within France have not yet been disclosed, but Valls has stated that 'the ban on [public] Wi-Fi is not an intended track today.'
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