French Senate gives digital economy bill second reading

The French Senate began its second reading of a piece of legislation entitled a Bill to Promote Confidence in the Digital Economy on April 8.

The bill has angered French Net users and Internet service providers (ISPs), who see its proposals to force ISPs to filter Internet traffic, and take responsibility for the content of Web pages they host, as a step toward the privatization of law.

Those proposals may be removed as the bill is amended in debate, on the recommendation of the French Commission for Economic Affairs.

On March 3, the commission reviewed the bill, and reserved judgment on three articles. It handed the Senate its decision Wednesday.

ISPs should not be obliged by law to monitor content on Web sites they host, the commission recommended, going against the opinion expressed by deputies in their first vote on the bill. The commission also decided to form a working party to consider how to protect minors from offensive Internet content.

By the time the Senate broke for lunch, voting on the 98 amendments still in play had not yet started. At 3 p.m. local time, when the Senate resumed, another item on the day’s agenda took precedence, and the debate seemed set to continue well into the night.

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