US portrayals of the 2015 French surveillance laws

Ashley M. Boyer, Lacey N. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In 2015, France passed legislation that greatly expanded the ability of the French government to collect and store personal data for use in counterterrorism investigations. This law, both in its history and in its provisions, has many similarities to the US PATRIOT Act. However, little is known about how the French surveillance law has been portrayed in the US media. The present paper is a content analysis of articles published in major US newspapers from May 2015 through August 2015, as this was the period of peak interest in the French surveillance law. Examination of Google trends related to the passing of the law is also included. Results indicate that most articles maintain a neutral tone when discussing either French or US surveillance law. However, articles with a critical tone nearly always appeared in a liberal newspaper. Public interest in the law peaked at the time the law was openly discussed, when it was passed, and when a major act of terrorism occurred in Paris. Other findings, their implications, and possibilities for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-253
Number of pages17
JournalFrench Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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