• “Hello, this is Eric Zemmour.

    This is how the automatic message delivered to the answering machines of millions of French people by the candidate's team begins.

    Valérie Pécresse also sent SMS.

    A method that some have denounced on social networks.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, Jean-Luc Mélenchon in 2019 and Emmanuel Macron in 2017... Other candidates had already used cold calling.

  • If it is not illegal, Eric Zemmour's message contravenes the rules enacted by the National Commission for Computing and Freedoms (Cnil), because it does not allow you to refuse to be contacted.

They are there, they invade your mailboxes, your telephones, etc.

We are not talking about messages for the professional training account or sellers of new roller shutters, but about the candidates for the presidential election who play the canvassers as the first round approaches.

Many voters report having been surprised to hear a “hello, this is Eric Zemmour” while listening to their voicemail.

For others, it is an SMS or also a voice message from Valérie Pécresse who interrupted the breakfast.

The method, targeted and sometimes felt to be intrusive, raises the question of the protection of personal data.

But is it illegal?

20 Minutes

takes stock.

What are the rules?

In theory, nothing prevents teams of candidates, such as companies looking to sell a product, from renting lists of telephone numbers to do canvassing.

The National Commission for Computing and Liberties of France (Cnil) authorizes it perfectly.

On one condition, however: “every citizen also has the right to oppose political canvassing by means of call machines, unconditionally”.

In other words, as one unsubscribes from a newsletter, you can at any time ask to disappear from these lists.

Hello @CNIL,

I have just received a recorded electoral message from Éric Zemmour.

It turns out that:

1°) I have not given my consent to the use of my personal data for this purpose.

2°) Neither the message nor the telephone number allows the said data to be deleted.


— Mr Il (@Illusivman) April 7, 2022

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Obtaining these lists is also supervised.

Some companies have specialized in harvesting telephone numbers through our registrations on websites, even if here again, the law of March 17, 2014 relating to consumption makes it possible to refuse to be canvassed.

Provided you have read the fine lines and ticked the right box, of course.

Eric Zemmour's team explains to TF1 that they have opted for another route: going through a service provider "approved by Arcep" (regulatory authority for electronic communications, post and press distribution), recovering even lists with major telephone operators.

This is how the message, which must not exceed 30 seconds, falls directly on the answering machine.

And thirty seconds is enough for Eric Zemmour to remind you that on Sunday you are going to “live a historic day”.

“You have the future of France in your hands.

Sunday, think of your children.

France must remain French”, also alerts the candidate of Reconquest!.

Are there any precedents?

The method is far from new.

From 2007, the UMP used it during Nicolas Sarkozy's campaign.

More recently, Agnès Buzyn, running for Paris City Hall in 2020, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Manon Aubry's supporter in the 2019 European elections, have used the same strategy.

And in 2017, Emmanuel Macron's campaign team paid a service provider 60,000 euros to post the same type of pre-recorded message to six million people.

The Cnil had thus opened a reporting platform during the departmental and regional elections of 2021. Voters were invited to report any approach possibly coming out of the nails.

According to Le


, the Cnil has already received 420 reports, 73% of which relate to messages like those from Eric Zemmour's team, but no complaints.

In 2020, for the municipal elections, no less than 3,948 reports and around ten complaints were received by the Cnil.

Among these reports, 45% concerned prospecting by SMS, 36% by telephone.

Are the procedures of the candidates really legal?

While obtaining personal contact information for canvassing is perfectly legal, the candidates' teams are very close to the limits on other points.

Eric Zemmour's voice message does not allow you to oppose canvassing.

The candidate's team defended itself by playing on the difference between a message submitted and a call machine, but the CNIL refuted the argument, and requires that at least one contact address be mentioned.

Our file on the 2022 presidential election

Conversely, Emmanuel Macron's message in 2017 rather invited those contacted to call a number to find out about his program.

A way of doing things that responds to the "good practices" of the CNIL, recommending a first message to obtain the agreement of the people canvassed.

As for the emails and SMS sent by Valérie Pécresse, unless you do not present a solution to unsubscribe, they are also perfectly legal.


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  • Elections

  • Presidential election 2022

  • Eric Zemmour

  • Valerie Pécresse

  • Emmanuel Macron

  • Jean-Luc Melenchon

  • CNIL

  • Telephony

  • Election campaign