French internet censorship rose sharply in 2016

Features Associated Press

France's interior minister says authorities have blocked or ordered search engines to de-list hundreds of websites in 2016, a significant increase over 2015.

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Bruno Le Roux told a cybersecurity conference in the French city of Lille that his government has requested the blockage of 834 websites and de-listing of 1,929 others as part of the fight against "child pornographic and terrorist content."

Le Roux didn't provide details but Tuesday's numbers represent a sharp increase over the figures tracked by France's online privacy watchdog last year.

In April the watchdog reported that 312 sites were blocked and 855 de-listing requests were made in France between March 11, 2015 and Feb. 29, 2016.

French authorities can block sites without a judge's order under a 2011 law that came into effect in 2015.