Knowing this chronology of the laws on secrecy, or rather on transparency in France, will be useful to understand the framework in which the policy on secrecy is deployed in our society.
There are eight important laws between 1978 and 2021. This range of legislation promotes transparency, and thus the end of secrecy, in a variety of political fields.
More recently, and as society turns digital, the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation of 2018 seems to be causing a national, or even European, or even international awareness.
- Law of January 6, 1978: “Informatique et liberté” – It is about knowing and modifying the information used in digital processing.
- Law of July 17, 1978: Access to administrative documents (especially article 2)
- Law of January 3, 1979: Modifies the law of archives by shortening the deadlines.
- Law of July 11, 1979: Requires the public authority to give reasons for refusal decisions.
- Law of April 12, 2000: Since this law, each citizen can know the person in charge of the investigation of the case which concerns him.
- Law of July 15, 2008: Further shortens the time limits for access to archives.
- Laws of October 11, 2013: Laws relating to the transparency of public life, which notably create the High Authority for the transparency of public life
- Law of June 1, 2019: New version of the Data Protection Act.
Transparency legislation is now focused around the European initiative of a General Data Protection Regulation. This regulation applies everywhere in the European Union but also outside the territory if companies target the European population! It has been transposed into the national law of each member country since it came into force on May 25, 2018.
In France, it is the National Commission for Information Technology and Liberties (CNIL) that is responsible for verifying proper compliance with these new standards and practices.