My flight from Athens where I had the pleasure to attend the first “reproducible world summit” landed at the scheduled time in Paris (CDG). While people were getting their bags and putting their coats on, one member of the cabin crew announced that a police control will take place outside the plane and that we should have ready identity documents. My seat was in the back of the plane, so I had time to wait in the cold of the jetway while all passengers were controlled one after the other.

Three cops were set up right at the entrance of the terminal. One was taking cards or passports and looking at people's face. He then passed it to another cop in front of a suitcase that seemed to contain a scanner and a computer. The third one was just standing against the wall watching. When it was my turn, after scanning my passport, the cop had this nice gesture where she started to move her hand holding the passport toward me —just like she had just did a hundred times—before pulling it backward when the result appeared on the screen.

I had the confirmation that I was registered as a dangerous political activist in 2012 when David Dufresne published Magasin Général. One report from the interior intelligence service from 2008 was leaked to promote the book. My name had not been properly redacted from the very first version that went online and was associated with a political self-organized space in Dijon. Some Debian Developers had the pleasure to visit that space in 2005, 2006, or 2007. The report was full of mistakes, like almost all police files, so I don't want to comment on it.

The good news is that since then, I have stopped being paranoid. I knew, and thus could take appropriate precautions. Just like every time I have to approach an airport, all my (encrypted) electronic devices were turned off. I had shaved a couple hours before. I know a lawyer ready to represent me. I am fully aware that it's best to say as little as possible.

Although it has been a while since I had such a blatant confirmation that I was still a registered anarchist. It should not be a surprise though. Once you are in, there's no way out.

I was then asked to step aside while they proceeded with the rest of the queue. I put my backpack down and leaned against the wall. Once they were over, one of the cops asked me to follow him. We walked through the corridors to reach the office of the border police. While we were walking, they asked me a series of questions. I'm not mentioning the pauses in between, but here's what I can remember:

— Do you have a connection?
— No.
— Are you going to Paris?
— To my parents' in the suburbs.
— How long have you been staying in Greece?
— 5 days.
flipping the pages of my passport And you come back from the U.S. in Feb. 2015?
— No, that was the maximum stay. I was there in August 2014.
— Why were you in Greece? Vacations?
— Work. I was at a meeting.
— What do you do?
— Free software.
— What is that?
— I am a developper.
— Oh, computers.
— Yes.
— Is that why you also were in the US?
— Yes, it was another conference.
— And so you travel because of that. That's nice.
— …
— Are you a freelancer?
— I work with a coop, but yes.

The cop also commented that they had to do some simple checks and that they would then let me go as I was coming back. I did not trust this but said nothing.

When then passed through a door where the cop had to use their badge to unlock it. I was asked to sit on a chair in the corridor between two offices (as far as I could see). I could hear one cop explaining the situation to the next: “— Il a une fiche. — Ah, une fiche.” They seemed quite puzzled that I was not controlled when I flew out on Monday.

After some minutes, another cop came back asking me for my boarding pass. Some more minutes later, he came back asking me if the address on my passport was still valid. I replied “no”. They gave me a piece of paper asking me for my current address, a phone number and an email address. As these information are all easy to find, I thought it was easier to comply. I gave my @irq7.fr address that I use for all public administrations. When the cop saw it, he asked:

— What is it?
— I don't understand.
— Is it your company?
— It is a non-profit.

He gave me my passport back and showed me the way out.

(I will spare you details on the discussion I had to listen while waiting between two cops about how one loved to build models of military weapons used in wars against communism because of his origins. And that he was pissed off because fucking Europe disallowed some (toxic) paints he was used to.)

To the best of my understanding, what happened is that they made a phone call and were just asked to update my personal details by the intelligence service.

I don't know, but I'm left to wonder if all these people might just have been controlled because I was on the flight.

All-in-all this didn't take too long: one hour after leaving the plane I was on the platform for the regional trains. The cops stayed polite the whole time. I am privileged: French citizen, white, able to speak French with a teacher accent. I am pretty sure it would have not been that good if I had been displaying a long beard or a djellaba.

I took the time to document this because I know too many people who think that what the French government is doing doesn't concern them. It does. It's been a couple of years now that antiterrorism is how governments keep people in check. But we are reaching a whole new level now. We are talking about cops keeping their guns while off duties, house searches at any hours without judge oversight, and the government wants to change the constitution to make the “state of emergency” permanent. We've seen so many abuses in just two weeks. It will not go well. Meanwhile, instead of asking themselves why young people are killing others and themselves, state officials prefer dropping bombs. Which will surely prevent people ready to die from using suicidal tactics, right?

We are at the dawn of an environmental crisis that will end humanity. Every human on this planet is concerned. People get beaten up when they march to pressure governments to do something about it. We need to unite and resist. And yes, we are going to get hurt but freedom is not free.