The Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation on Tuesday for offenses relating to personal data after Eric Zemmour targeted French people of Jewish faith in an SMS campaign.
On the eve of the first round of the presidential election in France, French people of the Jewish faith received an SMS signed Eric Zemmour calling on them to vote for him.
A preliminary investigation was opened after the complaint of two associations on a canvassing by SMS from the party of Éric Zemmour.
French law prohibits the creation of a file revealing religious beliefs or racial or ethnic origins without the consent of the person concerned. This is punishable by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 euros by the penal code.
Eric Zemmour’s campaign team claimed to have used a file of French Jews and sent “ten thousand text messages” which linked to the candidate’s web page.
This political solicitation was created with the help of a personal data broker, who buys databases to trade in them, said an official from Eric Zemmour’s party.
The far-right polemicist has made most of his campaign on immigration and anti-Islam messages. He presented himself as “the only one to denounce the expansion of Islam which is ravaging our country” and sought to rally the votes of French Jews of the Jewish faith by making them believe that it would be Islam at the origin of the anti-Semitism. “The anti-Semitism that kills today is Islamic,” he said.
“Following a complaint from the UEJF (Union of Jewish Students in France) and the association J’accuse AIJI, an investigation was opened today into the charges of detention, storage, recording, transmission of personal data in outside the cases provided for by law, communication to a third party without authorization and misuse of the purposes of a personal data file”, specified the prosecution concerning this open investigation.
The investigations were entrusted to the Brigade for the repression of personal crime (BRDP). The National Commission for Computing and Liberties (Cnil) had already opened an investigation into this electoral canvassing.
The Cnil indicates that “the processing of personal data which reveals (…) religious beliefs” is “prohibited”, unless “the person concerned has given his explicit consent to the processing of this personal data for one or more purposes specific”.
Eric Zemmour, despite a speech that appeals to a certain fringe of French society, failed to garner enough votes to pass the second round of the presidential election. He won 7% of the vote on Sunday.