France re-drafts controversial police database
The French government will present a new version of a police database following widespread protests from human rights groups and politicians.19 September 2008
PARIS -- The French government has climbed down after widespread protests over a new police database, French media reported on Friday.
Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie is to present a new version of the Edvige database later Friday, on the demand of Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who bowed to complaints from human rights groups, opposition politicians and members of his own UMP party.
Edvige - which stands for Documentary Exploitation - was created by government decree on 27 June to replace a 1991 database used by France's domestic security agency RG to track public figures, such as politicians and labour leaders, who could resort to violence and threaten the security of the state.
However, Edvige went significantly further, allowing police to gather information on anyone who could be "a threat to public order".
It also reduced the minimum age of those under surveillance from 18 to 13 and allowed information to be gathered on their health and sexual orientation.
Most of the controversial aspects of the database are likely to be removed, French radio reported Friday.
A petition to annul the database gathered more than 130,000 signatures, and a dozen complaints about it were filed with the Council of State, France's highest court on issues of public administration.
[dpa / Expatica]