French digital rights bill published in ‘open democracy’ first

France24: “A proposed law on the Internet and digital rights in France has been opened to public consultation before it is debated in parliament in an “unprecedented” exercise in “open democracy”.

The text of the “Digital Republic” bill was published online on Saturday and is open to suggestions for amendments by French citizens until October 17.

It can be found on the “Digital Republic” web page, and is even available in English.

“We are opening a new page in the history of our democracy,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said at a press conference as the consultation was launched. “This is the first time in France, or indeed in any European country, that a proposed law has been opened to citizens in this way.”

“And it won’t be the last time,” he said, adding that the move was an attempt to redress a “growing distrust of politics”.

Participants will be able to give their opinions and make suggestions for changes to the text of the bill.

Suggestions that get the highest number of public votes will be guaranteed an official response before the bill is presented to parliament.

Freedoms and fairness

In its original and unedited form, the text of the bill pushes heavily towards online freedoms as well as improving the transparency of government.

An “Open Data” policy would make official documents and public sector research available online, while a “Net Neutrality” clause would prevent Internet services such as Netflix or YouTube from paying for faster connection speeds at the expense of everyone else.

For personal freedoms, the law would allow citizens the right to recover emails, files and other data such as pictures stored on “cloud” services….(More)”