AAPA members met with former Lt. Col. Marc-Antoine Brillant, director of VIGINUM, the government body responsible for vigilance and protection against foreign digital interference. VIGINUM is attached to the General Secretariat of Defense and National Security (SGDSN) which is under the authority of the French Prime Minister. Mr. Brillant explained that VIGINUM’s mission is to detect manipulation of information from abroad aimed at “destabilizing the State”.


With the war in Ukraine and the Middle East, the approach of the Olympic Games and the European elections on June 9, French authorities are concerned with security issues and foreign manipulation of information.


At the beginning of this year, the French authorities identified a network made up of 193 false information sites targeting both the Ukrainian population and European states, including France, Germany, and Poland. The investigation established that this network was connected to a Russian technical service provider.


Mr. Brillant emphasized the fact that VIGINUM is not responsible or concerned with re-establishing the truth or correcting “inaccurate” information, but rather detecting the source of massive circulation of false information and whether it is the result of foreign interference. He stressed the fact that it was up to politicians, the media, and eventually the courts of justice to correct “untruths”. For the sake of our democracy, he said, this function of “correction” should be carried out by democratic institutions, not by a government agency.