French lawmakers are considering the SREN bill, part of the Macron administration’s efforts to combat online crime and enhance digital safety. The bill includes provisions to limit virtual private network (VPN) usage and requires web browsers to notify users when accessing websites on a government blacklist. Its goal is to protect users from cyber fraud, phishing, and cyber harassment.
However, a group of 30 French lawmakers supports an amendment that would restrict app stores from offering VPNs for accessing unregulated parts of the internet, citing concerns about age verification for explicit content.
While some legislators support the VPN limitation, others argue that there is no evidence that VPN use by criminals obstructs law enforcement’s ability to identify wrongdoers.
Web browser maker Mozilla has criticized the bill, especially an earlier version that required websites to block content at the browser level, which Mozilla deemed a tool for authoritarian governments. The current version of the bill only mandates browsers to alert users before accessing potentially fraudulent or malicious websites. Discussions around the bill continue as it progresses through the legislative process in the National Assembly.