France could ban Tor and public wi-fi
The French government has submitted proposals to forbid the use of free public wi-fi and access to Tor to help fight terrorism Reuters/Eric Gaillard

Following the Paris terrorist attacks the French government is looking to batten down its security hatches by proposing to forbid access to free public wi-fi and banning the use of Tor. The two pieces of leaked legislation from the Ministry of Interior state it aims to introduce these plans by January 2016.

The government's proposals concerning counterterrorism were picked up by French newspaper Le Monde which reported that use of free public or shared wi-fi would be forbidden during a state of emergency. Police claim it is difficult to track those who use public wi-fi making it the ideal form of communication for terrorists.

While this is an understandable means of clamping down and snuffing out future terror threats it will come as a source of some alarm to the public as it could see public wi-fi disappearing for months after French legislation extended the state of emergency to three months.

Time up for Tor in France?

The other swing of the axe is aimed at entirely outlawing the anonymity network Tor in France. Tor is a network that has grown in popularity following revelations of governments spying on internet users as it allows you to browse the web anonymously by obscuring the user's IP address. While a great tool for whistle-blowers or tin-foil hat wearers it has also become a roaming ground for terrorists and criminals to operate under the radar.

France has identified Tor as a place it cannot police so wants to remove the threat completely, but has not explicitly stated how exactly it would go about blocking the service. It could go down the same route as China where connections are blocked or it could enforce ISPs to gather data on their customers and flag any occurrences where users have accessed the service.

However, as Motherboard writes, the French Directorate of Civil Liberties and Legal Affairs (DLPAJ) questions whether some of the moves in the proposed legislation, including the attempt to block or forbid Tor, could be unconstitutional.

The reaction to the potential Tor ban has already had numerous Twitter users up in arms over the totalitarian approach and how it would impeach on free speech and those with a genuine need to use the internet anonymously would literally be a casualty of this war.

France will have to wait until January 2016 to see whether these plans are put into action.