Digital Republic Bill: A Comprehensive Review

Digital Republic Bill: A Comprehensive Review
Published in : 15 Nov 2023

Digital Republic Bill: A Comprehensive Review

Digital Republic Bill: A Comprehensive Review by the National Assembly

The National Assembly has spent the entire week reviewing the Digital Republic Bill, championed by Axelle Lemaire and theoretically by Emmanuel Macron (who was absent). The bill addresses several digital rights, including the right to be forgotten, data portability, minimal connection rights, digital death rights, panorama freedom, protection against revenge porn, and SMS payment.

Despite the criticism from the opposition, this includes significant progress for Internet users. These improvements appear as new rights to safeguard privacy and additional responsibilities for corporations. Here are the key ones.

Empowering Internet Users: Key Advances in Digital Rights Under the Lemaire Law

Collect personal data

When you switch phone providers, your contact list can be moved over. So why can't the same be done for online services? This is the concept behind data portability. Article 20 of the Lemaire law asserts that a consumer has an unassailable right to reclaim their data under any circumstances. This includes all files uploaded and every piece of data tied to their user account.

Data Portability: Your Unassailable Right to Control Your Information

In essence, this implies that every individual can retrieve their information and documents, including all email correspondence, during a shift in messaging. The data should be provided in a user-friendly and accessible format that a machine can interpret for use in an automated processing system.

For email services, every provider must include a feature at no extra charge that allows the user to seamlessly transfer their sent or received messages along with their contact list.

Nonetheless, the fines for not fulfilling this duty, which will be effective ten months post the enactment of the legislation, are not particularly deterrent: a maximum of 3000 euros for an individual and 15,000 euros for a corporation.

Please be aware that your departure from the service doesn't imply they will cease to retain your data. It simply means they are required to provide you with a copy that you can utilize.

As we delve into the complexities of the Digital Republic Bill, examining the terrain of internet rules and user privileges, it's clear that digital governance is a domain with many aspects. We've previously navigated the 'Importance of Internet Parental Control', highlighting how vital these steps are to creating a safe online space.

While the Digital Republic Bill concentrates on broad digital policies, understanding the interconnectedness of online safety is crucial. Our specialized blog on 'The Importance of Internet Parental Control' reinforces this necessity for tailored protective measures, particularly about email communication. This all-encompassing strategy ensures that while we traverse through the digital world shaped by legal structures, users across all age groups are empowered with knowledge and tools to enhance their online experiences.

Digital Death Rights: Managing Personal Data Beyond the Grave

The bill states that everyone has the authority to dictate what happens to their personal information on the internet after they pass away. This is essentially the privilege of digital death, where you get to control the management and sharing of your data posthumously.

Undeniably, before your passing, you have the liberty to appoint an individual who will be responsible for tasks such as closing your online accounts or asking for the removal of your private information. If someone else is specifically assigned, this responsibility can fall onto your children, spouse, inheritors, or beneficiaries.

Defending Your "Right to be Forgotten": Section 32 of the Lemaire Law

The bill's section 32 allows an individual to request a website, such as Facebook, to delete personal information gathered when they are underage. This provision is beneficial in avoiding the long-term impacts of a juvenile blunder on the web. If the service doesn't react to this demand within 30 days, then the CNIL can intervene.

Panorama Freedom: A New Era for Sharing Monumental Images Online

Were you aware that it's against the law to share images of the Louvre Pyramid or Copenhagen's Little Mermaid on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other website? Also, did you know that while it's perfectly legal to capture a daytime shot of the Eiffel Tower, doing so at night is prohibited as its illumination is deemed a safeguarded artistic work?

The issue will shortly be resolved. On Thursday, an amendment proposed by the socialist Luc Belot was approved by the deputies. This allows individuals to post pictures of buildings or artworks that still need to be in the public domain and can be seen on public roads on the Internet. However, there's a catch: these postings must not be for monetary gain to protect artists from potential income loss.

To put it differently, you have the liberty to share your holiday pictures without any worries. Granted, this was never much of an issue previously; indeed, the majority of creators or beneficiaries of structures or artworks never demanded monetary reimbursement. However, Luc Belot's modification deserves recognition for making the circumstances clearer by incorporating an exemption to copyright known as panorama freedom.

The journey towards its approval was fraught with challenges, primarily from copyright champions and the government. The former group argues that such an exception would significantly reduce the earnings of involved artists and architects. Meanwhile, the latter group would rather delegate this issue to Brussels. However, these counterarguments from the law-making body were insufficient, leading to a coalition of right-wing deputies, ecologists, far-left members, and socialists who united to secure its passage narrowly.

Combatting Revenge Porn: Severe Legal Consequences for Offenders

Lawmakers are taking a strong stand against revenge porn, a rapidly growing issue in recent years. Henceforth, sharing explicit photos or videos of an individual online without their permission will face severe legal consequences. The penalties include a two-year jail term and a fine of 60,000 euros.

SMS Payments: A Closer Look at Article 41 of the Digital Republic Bill

Prepare yourself for the grand return of premium SMS. Article 41 of the law permits the acquisition or usage of digital content and vocal services via SMS. Granted, it's quite ambiguous, but it enables SMS payment for both purchasing and donating. However, this can be at most 300 euros monthly.

Ensuring Connectivity: Internet as a Basic Necessity under Article 45

Telecommunication providers have criticized the Lemaire law, which includes the provision to treat internet connection as a basic necessity like water and electricity. According to Article 45, it can't be suddenly discontinued due to payment issues with the subscription.

Aid organizations such as Emmaus Connect, which view the internet as a crucial tool for both professional and social integration, have triumphed in their appeal for help.

Enhanced Privacy Protection: Strengthening CNIL's Authority

You likely don't recall the 150,000 euro penalty that Google was slapped with by the National Commission for IT and Liberties (CNIL) in February 2014 due to their violations of user data privacy. Interestingly enough, it seems Google doesn't remember it either.

For several years, the CNIL's ability to enforce privacy protection for internet users has been ridiculed and caused frustration. The maximum fine of 150,000 euros that it can impose is seen as a mere pittance by the major internet companies. This amount needs to be more substantial to prompt or force these corporations to enhance their privacy provisions for their numerous users in France.

The government has taken note of that complaint. On Thursday night, an amendment was passed by the deputies, which significantly boosts the punitive authority of the CNIL. The penalty has been raised from 150,000 euros to a substantial maximum sum of 20 million euros.

The lawmakers also resolved to permit collective lawsuits. Associations and unions may represent those who might have fallen victim to breaches of the Data Protection Act in legal proceedings. Entities that are qualified to initiate such actions include consumer protection groups like UFC-Que-Choisir, organizations committed to safeguarding privacy and personal data, a group specifically established for initiating class action lawsuits, or labor union organizations.

Despite the government's preference for addressing this issue at a European level under the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it's noteworthy that this amendment was approved contrary to their viewpoint.

 

Conclusion:

You likely don't recall the 150,000 euro penalty that Google was slapped with by the National Commission for IT and Liberties (CNIL) in February 2014 due to their violations of user data privacy. Interestingly enough, it seems Google doesn't remember it either.

For several years, the CNIL's ability to enforce privacy protection for internet users has been ridiculed and caused frustration. The maximum fine of 150,000 euros that it can impose is seen as a mere pittance by the major internet companies. This amount needs to be more substantial to prompt or force these corporations to enhance their privacy provisions for their numerous users in France.

The government has taken note of that complaint. On Thursday night, an amendment was passed by the deputies, which significantly boosts the punitive authority of the CNIL. The penalty has been raised from 150,000 euros to a substantial maximum sum of 20 million euros.

The lawmakers also resolved to permit collective lawsuits. Associations and unions may represent those who might have fallen victim to breaches of the Data Protection Act in legal proceedings. Entities that are qualified to initiate such actions include consumer protection groups like UFC-Que-Choisir, organizations committed to safeguarding privacy and personal data, a group specifically established for initiating class action lawsuits, or labor union organizations.

Despite the government's preference for addressing this issue at a European level under the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it's noteworthy that this amendment was approved contrary to their viewpoint.

 

FAQs Related to the Digital Republic Bill:

Q1: What is the Digital Republic Bill, and why is it significant?

Answer: The Digital Republic Bill is a law proposal targeting the improvement and regulation of digital rights within France. It's crucial due to its all-encompassing structure that tackles matters such as data transferability, digital death rights, and the 'right to be forgotten,' among others. This represents an essential stride in safeguarding user privacy and transforming the digital environment.

Q2: How does data portability work under the Lemaire law?

Answer: Under Article 20 of the Lemaire law, data portability provides consumers with an indisputable entitlement to recover their data. This encompasses the capacity to access all files, information, and documents associated with their user account while switching between online services. It guarantees an easy and accessible transfer of data.

Q3: What are digital death rights, and how can they be exercised?

Answer: Rights concerning digital legacy give people the authority to determine what happens to their data online when they die. They can designate a person to handle duties such as shutting down online profiles or deleting confidential data. If no one is specifically appointed, these obligations might be assumed by relatives, partners, heirs, or recipients of the deceased's estate.

Q4: How does the 'right to be forgotten' provision work in the bill?

Answer: The Digital Republic Bill's Section 32 provides a provision for people to ask for their data to be erased, particularly if it was collected while they were minors. This clause serves as a protective measure from the lasting consequences of early missteps on the internet.

Q5: What changes does the bill bring to sharing images of monuments on the internet?

Answer: Deputies have sanctioned an amendment that enables people to upload images of structures or art pieces that still need to be part of the public domain on the internet. Nonetheless, these uploads should not serve any financial benefit to safeguard artists from possible earnings deprivation. This introduces a clear understanding through the exemption from copyright referred to as panorama freedom.

Q6: How does the bill combat revenge porn, and what are the penalties?

Answer: The law is firmly against revenge porn and enforces harsh legal penalties such as a two-year prison sentence and a 60,000 euro fine for distributing explicit images or videos on the internet without permission.

Q7: What is the provision for SMS payments in the Digital Republic Bill?

Answer: Under Article 41, one is allowed to acquire or use digital content and voice services through SMS, which can involve either buying or donating. Nonetheless, these transactions are capped at a maximum of 300 euros per month.

Q8: How does the bill treat internet connection as a basic necessity?

Answer: The Digital Republic Bill's Article 45 regards an internet connection as a fundamental requirement, guaranteeing that it cannot be suddenly cut off due to subscription payment problems. This clause is designed to aid entities that consider the internet vital for professional and social integration, such as Emmaus Connect.

Q9: What changes are introduced to enhance privacy protection and address violations by internet giants?

Answer: The legislation considerably strengthens CNIL's punitive power, escalating the highest fine from 150,000 euros to a whopping 20 million euros. Furthermore, it paves the way for class action lawsuits, enabling groups and unions to legally represent those affected by violations of the Data Protection Act in court.

Q10: What is the government's stance on addressing privacy issues at a European level?

Answer: Even though the government favored handling privacy concerns at a European level through the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the deputies endorsed a revision that opposed this perspective, underscoring the urgency for significant actions at the domestic level.