Presidential election : Beware, Viginum is watching you!

The mission of the Vigilance and Protection against Foreign Digital Interference (Viginum) service is to protect the democratic debate from external intrusions. By better monitoring internal publications?

Public debate in the 21ᵉ century is expressed first on the web. Social networks have become the primary source of public information. The power of these digital communication tools is global. So that, from now on, more or less malicious groups located on the other side of the world can invite themselves into the democratic debate of a state. Thanks to well conducted propaganda, they can influence the ideas and opinions of citizens, and even direct their vote. To the point of deciding who will be elected and who will be defeated? Perhaps. The debate has inflamed the last election campaign in the United States, but also, to a lesser extent, in France.

Monitoring, monitoring, monitoring

To prevent foreign digital interference from threatening the democratic functioning of our country, the state created the Vigilance and Protection against Foreign Digital Interference (Viginum) service in July 2021. Its missions?

  • To monitor, detect and analyze the dynamics of the propagation of content hostile to France, via digital platforms, orchestrated by foreign actors, state or non-state, likely to harm the fundamental interests of the Nation;
  • Leading and coordinating interministerial work on protection against these operations;
  • Contribute to European and international work and ensure operational and technical liaison with its foreign counterparts.

Gabriel Ferriol, a magistrate of the Cour des Comptes, was appointed head of the Viginum department on September 30, 2021.

The manipulation of information

According to the General Secretariat of Defense and National Security (SGDSN) “a serious threat is spreading in the public debate”. Hence the need to detect, monitor, analyze and “design appropriate response strategies”.
This device therefore consists in fighting against the manipulation of information. And therefore to fight against false information or fake news!
This is where there is a political problem. What is true and false information? If I say God exists: true information or fake news?
We can also see it with the debate on Covid-19 and vaccines: what is the scientific truth since this truth changes almost every day?
The implementation of this state “service” intended to monitor the content of our publications on social networks is a cause for concern. Especially during the election period for which it was designed. Of course, an ethical and scientific committee is, in principle, the guarantor of the conditions under which Viginum operates.
But it is a very intrusive tool which, on the grounds of fighting against malicious foreign groups operating from Russia, China, Africa or Turkey, could spy on all French people via social networks. You might as well know it.