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French press review 10 June 2013

Big Brother is alive and well and watching you from Washington. And the French may have to work longer.


Le Monde and Le Figaro both give front-page prominence to the question of how far the United States' security services should go in their efforts to snuff out terrorist acts before they start killing people.

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Google, Apple, Yahoo! and Microsoft all deny having given the National Security Agency (NSA) access to their computer servers and thus to confidential information about clients.

Le Monde's editorial, headlined "Security, the internet and the shadow of Bush," accepts that there is an irreconcilable clash between the democratic desire to keep our private lives private and the democratic desire to stop terrorists from blowing up buildings and people.

The centrist newspaper points out that the election of President Barack Obama, a former professor of constitutional law, was expected to redress the civil rights/security Bush-era imbalance. But, instead of a moderation, critics claim that Barack and the boys have really gone to town, tunnelling into the computer hubs of the telephone and internet companies, collecting details on the contacts of millions of American citizens.

It's all completely legal, thanks to the Patriot Act, the hastily drafted anti-terrorist legislation rushed through by the administration under Bush junior in the wake of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

Internet is a two-edged sword, says Le Monde. We get instant access to information but at the price of opening the door to all sorts of espionage, from commercial to state-sponsored.

French pensions are getting a lot of attention.

This week will see the opening shots in a gun-battle over how much we have to pay for our pensions, what age we can finally retire at and who will pay for the whole, very expensive business.

We're all going to have to work longer, that now seems beyond reasonable doubt.

Catholic La Croix looks to the United States, where, since 1980, it has been illegal to force someone to stop working on the basis of age. The paper interviews a 73-year-old New York taxi driver who says he's still working so he can pay for his daughter's education.

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