France Authorizes Major Increase in National Video Surveillance

The French parliament Thursday followed Britain's example and authorized a huge increase in video security surveillance.

The National Assembly approved a measure urged by Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy to dramatically boost video security surveillance throughout the country of 60 million people.

Sarkozy and French security chiefs were impressed by the rapid speed with which the British security services solved the case of who was responsible for the four suicide bombings in the London mass transit system on July 7 that killed 52 people and wounded more than 700. Surveillance cameras at London's King's Cross station played a central role in identifying the perpetrators.

There are more than 3 million video surveillance cameras already operating in Britain and less than 50,000 in France. The new law will open the way for a massive increase in video surveillance and the installation of video cameras in public places including airports, railway and bus stations, mosques, churches and synagogues. The legislation also increases the severity of already tough punishments for convicted terrorists and their supporters on the statute books.


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