Digital law: Internet users, do you know your new rights?

Right to be forgotten, data portability, right to minimal connection, right to digital “death”, freedom of panorama, protection against “revenge porn”, payment by SMS… The bill for a digital Republic, carried by Axelle Lemaire (and also, in theory, by Emmanuel Macron, to absent subscribers) has been examined all week by the National Assembly.

Even if the opposition fires red balls on it , it includes some important advances for Internet users. They manifest themselves in the form of new rights to protect privacy and new obligations for businesses. Here are the main ones.

Collect personal data

When you change telephone operator, you can transfer your contact directory. So why not do the same for services on the Internet? This is the principle of data portability . Article 20 of the Lemaire law establishes that ” the consumer has in all circumstances a right to recover his data “, that is to say all the files put online and all the data associated with the account. user.

Concretely, this means that everyone can recover their data and files, such as all of their e-mails when changing messaging. The information must be delivered in ” an open and easily reusable format, readable by a machine, to be exploited by an automated processing system “.

In the case of e-mail, any supplier will have to offer a free functionality making it possible to ” directly transfer the messages that the consumer has sent or received “, as well as his list of contacts.

Still, the penalties for breach of this obligation, which will be applicable ten months after the adoption of the law, are not very dissuasive: 3000 € maximum for a natural person and 15,000 euros for a legal person.

Please note that this does not mean that the service you are leaving will no longer hold data about you. Only that he will be obliged to make you a copy that you can use.

Delete his digital traces after his death

It is the right to “digital death” , or the possibility of controlling what happens to your personal data scattered on the Web once you are no longer there. ” Anyone can define directives relating to the storage and communication of their personal data after their death” , is it written in the bill.

Clearly, you can, before your death, designate a person of your choice who will have to close your accounts on the Internet, for example, or request the deletion of your personal data in your place. In the absence of a designation, the descendants, the spouse, the heirs or the universal legatees can take care of it.

Defend your “right to be forgotten”

It’s clause 32 of the bill. A person can now ask a website (Facebook for example) to erase personal data that was collected “ when the person concerned was a minor ”. Practical to prevent a youthful mistake on the Internet from rotting your life years later. If the service has not responded to the request within a month, the CNIL can be seized.

Post photos of private monuments on the Internet

Did you know that it was illegal for you to post a photo of the Louvre Pyramid or the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any website? Or that you could photograph the Eiffel Tower by day but not by night, because its lighting constitutes a protected artistic creation?

This will soon no longer be a problem. The deputies adopted on Thursday an amendment , tabled by the socialist Luc Belot, to ” authorize individuals to broadcast on the Internet images of buildings or works of art which have not yet fallen into the public domain and which have been can observe on the public highway” . But on one condition: that this publication is not for “profit purposes”, so as to ” preserve artists from the risk of loss of income” .

In other words, you can post your vacation photos without fear. Agreed, it was not really a problem before: in fact, most authors or beneficiaries of buildings or works of art did not claim financial compensation. But Luc Belot’s amendment has the merit of clarifying the situation by introducing an exception to copyright, called ” freedom of panorama “.

Its passage did not go smoothly, due to fierce opposition from copyright advocates and the government. The former believe that this exception would deprive the artists and architects concerned of substantial income. The second prefers to refer this question to Brussels. But the arguments of the legislator were not enough: deputies from the right, ecologists, far-left and socialists united to make it pass by a narrow majority.

Protect yourself from “revenge porn”

Two years in prison and a 60,000 euro fine. MPs don’t mess with ‘revenge porn’. From now on, posting sexual photos or videos of a person on the Internet without their consent, a practice that has been booming for a few years, will be heavily punished by law.

Pay and make donations by SMS (surcharged)

Get ready for the big comeback of premium SMS. Article 41 of the law authorizes the purchase or consumption of “digital content” and “voice services” by sending an SMS. Yes, it’s very vague, but it allows SMS payment, both to buy and to donate. But not for more than 300 euros per month.

Stay connected

Criticized by telecom operators, the right to maintain an internet connection  will be part of the Lemaire law. Article 45 stipulates that the Internet is as essential as water and electricity and therefore cannot be abruptly withdrawn in the event of difficulties in paying the subscription.

on the request for assistance ” . A victory for aid organizations like Emmaus Connect, who believe that the Internet is a fundamental integration tool, both for work and social life.

Better defend against the giants of the Net

Do you remember the fine of 150,000 euros that the National Commission for IT and Liberties (CNIL) imposed on Google in February 2014, for its breaches regarding the confidentiality of its users’ data? Probably not. And neither does Google, for that matter.

The capacity of sanction of the CNIL , guarantor of the protection of the privacy of Internet users, has been the subject of mockery and exasperation for many years. The maximum financial penalty of 150,000 euros is considered far too low for the Internet giants, as it is insufficient to encourage or compel them to better respect the privacy of their millions of users in France.

The government has heard that lament. Thursday evening, the deputies adopted an amendment which clearly increases the sanctioning power of the CNIL. It goes from 150,000 euros to a maximum amount of 20 million euros.

The parliamentarians also decided to authorize class actions . Potential victims of a violation of the Data Protection Act may be represented by associations and unions to take legal action. The organizations able to act are consumer defense associations such as UFC-Que-Choisir, associations dedicated to the protection of privacy and personal data, an association created specifically to undertake group action, or organizations employee unions.

It should be noted that this amendment was adopted against the opinion of the government, which preferred that the issue be addressed at European level, within the framework of the future General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).


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