A special committee of the National Assembly must examine this week the Bill aimed at securing and regulating the digital space aimed at “securing and regulating the digital space to restore the confidence necessary for the success of the digital transition”. The amendment which aimed to ban the use of VPNs has been withdrawn.
The day before last weekend, a group of deputies from the Renaissance group tabled an amendment to the bill proposing “toprohibit any user of a social network from posting, commenting or interacting using a virtual private network “. This text slipped among 851 other amendments did not go down well with defenders of freedoms. From the own ranks of their party, to other elected representatives of the Assembly, via organizations defending freedoms, voices were raised against a proposal considered liberticidal, the most radical opponents even going so far as to evoke “tyranny » from the French government, which in July 2023 was already toying with the idea of cutting off access to social networks during crisis situations.
For the majority deputies, the ban on interacting on social networks through a VPN will facilitate the work of identifying offenders during their investigations, a task made difficult when Internet users hide their real IP address behind a private network virtual. This argument convinced no one, and before the outcry caused by this amendment aimed at restricting the use of VPNsthe group of parliamentarians withdrew their proposal.
MEPs withdraw bill to ban VPNs
According to Mr. Belhamiti, the amendment was proposed to open the debate. He said on Twitter: “ I regret the controversy created by this amendment of appeal, which some have chosen to take literally […] rather thanaccept a substantive discussion on the subject not of the anonymity of accounts, but of obstacles put in the way of identifying the authors of criminal messages “.
Amendment CS 553 is therefore withdrawn from the discussions, but let us remember that in terms of data confidentiality, VPNs are not a panacea. According to a study on the operation of 144 VPNs, more than 70% of them do not respect the privacy of their users.