Lower house of French Parliament approves surveillance bill

The lower house of the French Parliament has approved a controversial intelligence bill that could broaden the government's surveillance powers.

The bill still needs to be voted on in the upper house, but if passed into law, it would allow French intelligence services to gather unlimited data from citizens' internet communications along with the ability to tap cellphones and capture text messages, according to The New York Times.

After the bill was introduced and promptly compared to the U.S. PATRIOT Act, Prime Minister Manual Valls clarified and said the ruling would only be invoked to capture terrorists' communications.

The proposed law currently allows for intelligence services in order to protect “national independence, the integrity of French territory and national defense” and to “prevent terrorism.”

It can also be used to “prevent attacks on the republican form of institutions,” and to fight organized crime.

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