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Preparing France's Entry into the Information Society

Preparing France's Entry into the Information Society

Source: Prime Minister's Office, Paris. French Government Programme for the Information Society: Preparing France's entry into the information society is a government priority.

  • The information revolution is leading to a fundamental change in our society.
  • The emergence of the information society is reflected by a variety of profound transformations with marked consequences on our economy, and also on the lives of our people.
  • The conditions for France's entry into the information society are thus of decisive importance for our future.

The government is offering the people of France a project and a political vision of information and communications technology founded on the ambition to create an integrated information society.

The government action programme reflects its commitment

The government action programme for the information society marks the State's commitment, stressing, sector by sector, the issues and priorities, accompanied by concrete proposals.

This document, which mixes medium-term strategic orientations and operational measures, aims to outline the directions to be taken by government action in this area in years to come.

The task of the government action programme is to act as a reference for government departments, but also, and in particular, for the other players in society who are calling for voluntary and sustained State intervention.

To be effective and legible, State action must concentrate on a limited number of priorities broaching the main concerns:

  1. New information and communications technology tools in the education sector
  2. An ambitious cultural policy for new networks,
  3. Information technology as a tool for modernising public services,
  4. Information technology, an essential tool for companies,
  5. Meeting the challenges of industrial and technological innovation,
  6. Encouraging the emergence of effective regulation and a protective framework for new information networks.

Well-coordinated action at national and international level

The setting-up of a government action programme for the information society is dependent on the commitment of all government departments. Before summer 1998, each ministry will prepare a sector-by-sector breakdown of the government action programme. An inter-ministerial committee for the information society will be set up. This will monitor implementation of the actions proposed as part of this programme. In anticipation of international discussions in the future, coordination of the various government departments will be increased to ensure a strong French presence in all official or informal negotiating bodies on the information society.

Engaging public debate to submit the State's proposals to the other players

The government action programme for the information society should in no way be considered to be set in stone. It must be improved on the basis of the public debate which should result from the main options outlined for France's entry into the information society. The action programme can be accessed on-line on the Prime Minister's web site: A discussion forum has been set up and is just one site for public debate. (http://www.premier-ministre.gouv.fr).

An efficient and protective framework for cryptology

Enforcement orders on the law regulating telecommunications, dated the 26th July 1996, will make it possible to simplify the use of cryptology, to meet a threefold need to protect privacy, to develop electronic transactions and to ensure the security of information systems.

The use of moderate cryptology will be entirely unrestricted.

The use of strong cryptology tools will be authorised on condition that the keys for the coding used are submitted to trustworthy third parties approved by the State.

The State itself will rapidly set up an initial trustworthy third party service for its own needs and those of companies.

A national debate on cryptology will be organised towards the end of 1998 to review implementation of the new French regulatory framework, progress in international discussions in this field, and developments in technological solutions.

Guaranteeing the security of national information systems and networks

The development and interconnection of information networks increases their vulnerability. The fact that management of the main infrastructures and major exchange networks in our country is based on increasingly complex and highly-developed information systems gives rise to new risks.

An interministerial working group will evaluate vulnerable areas in the major national infrastructures and will propose suitable solutions. An initial report will be given to the Prime Minister before autumn 1998.

Regular consultation with the main economic players will make it possible to increase awareness of this problem and to receive their suggestions.

Adapting initiatives for the prevention and repression of new threats

France will play an active part in currently ongoing international studies into new forms of criminal behaviour linked to information and communications technology. In particular, these aim to improve judicial cooperation and to tailor legislation to protect the public.

Training of those public players responsible for ensuring public protection will include information and

communications technology. Thus, the various training establishments for the legal and judicial professions will set up training in computer tools and the Internet.

Other reports in English.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).