Feeds

Taser's French distributor cuffed in commie spying case

Liberté, fraternité, électricité

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The French distributor of Taser-brand cattleprod stunguns has been arrested along with nine other suspects - including policemen and private detectives - for allegedly spying on a communist politician.

Various French and worldwide media reported on the arrests, which follow an investigation by L'Express magazine. The magazine looked into the matter after complaints of being followed and spied upon by Olivier Besancenot, outsider presidential candidate in 2007 and spokesman for the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) party.

The long-running affair has pitted Besancenot against Antoine Di Zazzo, head of SMP Technologies, which distributes Taser stunguns in France. SMP is engaged in legal action against Besancenot for publicising cases in which people have died after being Tasered.

Radio France Internationale quotes the leftist politician as saying that Di Zazzo is "seeking €50,000 from me just because I drew attention to an Amnesty International report". Amnesty International has repeatedly called for a moratorium on the use of Tasers.

Investigators suspect that Di Zazzo engaged a private detective agency run by a former police officer to spy on Besancenot. It is alleged that improper access to bank accounts and vehicle registration data may have taken place, and that intrusive surveillance may have been used.

Taser International, based in Arizona, was quick to distance itself from Di Zazzo.

"Antoine is purely a distributor in France," company spokesman Steve Tuttle told the Arizona Republic.

"He is not an employee in any way, shape or form."

Besancenot has said that the case illustrates the dangers of uncontrolled state surveillance, and believes it will provide ammunition against upcoming French legislation intended to widen government spying powers.

There was no report of the French cops needing Tasers to subdue Di Zazzo and his associates. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.