France: The New Digital Law is Adopted

A few months ago we announced on our Facebook company page that the new French digital law had undergone its first reading in Parliament. Yesterday, after months of discussions and arbitrages the draft law was finally adopted by the French Senate and is now waiting to be promulgated by François Hollande, the French President. Once signed the new text will be published within 15 days in the Official Journal of the French Republic.

In this alert I will point out some of the most significant parts of the new law.

  • A reinforcement of the enforcement powers of the CNIL. The French privacy watchdog’s fining power increase from 150.000 euros to 3 million euros, an intermediary step before the entry into force of the EU General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018, which regulation will empower it to impose fines of up to 20 million euros (or, as it applies to corporations, 4% of their worldwide annual turnover).
  • An easier sanctioning of revenge porn. Under the new law revenge porn may be sanctioned by 2 years of imprisonment and a 60.000 euro fine.
  • The right to be forgotten for minors. Under the new law minors (under 18) will benefit from a faster recognition of their right to be forgotten. Websites will however be able to oppose the suppression of the photos and videos for information purposes (press articles).
  • Net Neutrality. The new digital law implements the principle of net neutrality that was adopted by the European Union at the end of 2015. ARCEP, the French telecoms regulator is tasked with monitoring the application of the principle in line with the guiding principles established by the EU telecommunications regulators.
  • Social Platforms Loyalty. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, will be required to make their terms of use easier to read and understand for French users, in particular as regards the conditions for content referencing, classification, and de-referencing.
  • Privacy Breaches. The CNIL will be able to order that websites that suffer from data security breaches inform individually each victim of the breach.
  • Easier portability of data and emails from one ISP to another. From 25 May 2018, internet users will be able to download in a few clicks all of the data they uploaded to online service providers such as Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube, the objective being to make it easier for them to switch to a different service provider.
  • Digital Death on Social Networks. Individuals will be able to arrange for the after-life administration of their personal data posted on social networks, e.g. photos and email conversations.

> Read the new Digital Law (in French)