Albanel is agrégé in classical Letters. In 1982, she joined the administration of the city of Paris, and followed Jacques Chirac – working in his cabinet – when he became Prime Minister in 1986 and French President in 1995.
In 2007, she was appointed Minister of Culture in François Fillon's government. While in this position, she proposed a new law (the HADOPI law) with the objective to reduce music and video piracy over the Internet, along the same 'graduated penalty' lines of thinking that previous ineffective 'DADVSI' law. This move generated huge debate as several Presumption of innocence key liberty and law principles were sacrificed for the sake of efficiency, while most experts in Internet technology[who?] said the attempt was anyway doomed as grossly underestimating the complexity of any reliable control system.