Viginum is officially operational.

The decree establishing the modalities of action and tools of the new government structure responsible for tracking foreign digital interference was published on Thursday in the Official Journal.

Viginum, which reports to the Secretary General of Defense and National Security (SGDSN), "is authorized to implement computerized and automated processing of personal data", according to the text.

The decree provides in particular that Viginum can work on platforms that require registration, such as Facebook or Twitter, that the data collected can be kept for a maximum period of six months and that the collection is not automatic and constant, but triggered after 'an officer detected something suspicious.

Monitoring platforms that exceed "five million unique visitors per month"

"The purpose of this processing is to detect and characterize transactions involving, directly or indirectly, a foreign state or a foreign non-state entity, and aimed at the artificial or automated, massive and deliberate dissemination (...) of allegations or blatantly inaccurate or misleading facts liable to undermine the fundamental interests of the Nation, in particular when these operations are liable to alter the information of citizens during electoral periods ”, indicates the decree.

"This processing is based on the collection and use of content publicly accessible to users" of certain platforms, "whose activity on French territory exceeds a threshold of five million unique visitors per month, including when access to these platforms require registration for an account ", specifies the decree, which adds that" the data thus collected are used for the sole needs of the preparation of analysis notes ".

Digital interference attempts on the rise in recent years

The creation of Viginum was announced this summer and its implementation has been done gradually since then, in several stages, in particular so that the various authorities involved can express themselves on the framework and the limitation of possible infringements of freedoms. .

“The selection of content to be collected is carried out in a proportionate and automated manner” while respecting certain technical criteria, including “the exclusion of any recourse to a facial recognition or voice identification system”, specifies the text in this regard.

Digital interference, attempts to manipulate opinions on social networks or hacking actions, has increased in Western election campaigns in recent years.

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