Update 21 September 2021: After that sensitive data of hundreds of public figures, activists and associations appeared on some online lists published by the far-right website Fdesouche, a complaint with more than 90 names was filed against the website on 21 September. And “others are still coming in, so there will be additional complaints”, announced lawyer Arié Alimi in a press conference hosted by the Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) – France.
Journalist Taha Bouhafs, one of the people filed by Fdesouche, reported: “I have been the target of violent, massive and organised cyber harassment with a racist hashtag. This is not political disagreement, it is an attack on my origin and there has been no word from mainstream politicians”. According to LDH – France, Fdesouche does not only spread hateful ideas: this kind of files help to prepare actions, to create targets for groups that can be violent and can be used by the government.
Source: CheckNews (Libération) on 17 September 2021
As reported by journalist Taha Bouhafs, the French far-right website Fdesouche created and published a list of hundreds of so called ‘Islamo-leftists’ (‘Islamo-gauchistes‘ in French, i.e. a neologism applied from the French far-right to an alleged political alliance between leftists and Islamists). The website is linked to Génération identitaire, a violent far-right group that was dissolved by the French government in March 2021, and keeps a “press review” of the themes of interest to the far-right (immigration, Islam, etc.).
The Excel file included about 350 journalists, lawyers, imams, elected officials and politicians from all sides, who were registered with the position they hold in their organisation and categorised on an ethnic and political base. It appeared and was downloadable from the Fdesouche website, but it was deleted on 17 September. Fdesouche retorted that this document had been constructed from the list of signatories of a November 2019 call to March Against Islamophobia – a call hosted on a Mediapart blog, as well as the list of its signatories. Pierre Sautarel, founder of Fdesouche, insisted to CheckNews that was public data.
However, the list hosted by Mediapart underwent some modifications before being published on Fdesouche. First, it was converted into a spreadsheet, making it more readable, and typos were corrected. Then, people were classified into categories such as “politics”, “entertainment”, “activism”, or “Islam”. All kinds of details concerning the signatories were added: for example, “Salafist” (a very rigorous branch movement of Islam) appeared next to the name of a mosque; the associations or unions to which some signatories belong were specified, as well as the university of employment for some teachers; on the line of an elected official, there were elements obtained on “his Twitter account”; next to the profession – “actor” – of an LGBT+ activist appeared also the mention “transgender”.
In short, the Fdesouche list was not a raw file, but one that has been reworked and supplemented with other data. It should be noted that some people who did not sign the appeal on the Mediapart website, such as independent journalist Aida Alami, also appeared in Fdesouche spreadsheet.
Besides, there was a second list with almost 800 hundreds initiatives and associations that help migrants throughout France, recording many sensitive details like name, address, contacts, description of activities. This spreadsheet was in fact originally drawn up by the associations themselves, according to CheckNews, and then used by the Sursaut citoyen website to list, map and help to contact these migrant aid associations.
On Twitter, Bouhafs – who himself was in the Excel list – invited other filed people to engage in a collective criminal action against Fdesouche. In a press release, lawyer Arié Alimi said that “a large number of people on file have decided to lodge a complaint regarding the following offences: processing of personal data without complying with the formalities prior to their implementation” and “processing of personal data, without the express consent of the interested parties, revealing the racial or ethnic origins, the political, philosophical or religious opinions, or the trade union membership of the persons”.
The National Committee on Computer Science and Freedoms (CNIL) told CheckNews that it had been “seized of the matter” and that “a procedure is underway”.