“It is also disproportionate because of the risk of over-blocking perfectly lawful content, especially with the blocking technique retained by the Government,” Tréguer said.

Days after world leaders marched in Paris to show solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and support the right to freedom of speech and the press, France arrested 54 people on charges of “glorifying” or “defending” terrorism.

On Monday, rights groups pointed to those arrests as evidence of how easily the new decree could be exploited in similar ways.

Jillian York, director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Verge, “In light of the recent arrests that have followed the Charlie Hebdo attacks—many of which are clearly overboard—I would say that France’s government needs to seriously think about whether this law will stop terrorists, or merely chill speech.”

French officials said the decree was a necessary proactive step. “Today, 90 percent of those who swing toward terrorist activities within the European Union do so after visiting the internet,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said last week after introducing the law. “We do not combat terrorism if we do not take measures to regulate the internet.”

But some critics, like Tréguer, disagree that the law will be useful at all. “The measure only gives the illusion that the State is acting for our safety, while going one step further in undermining fundamental rights online,” he said.

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