The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Macron promotes a controversial standard of video surveillance with algorithms for the Olympic Games in Paris


The National Assembly is considering a proposal to use cameras equipped with artificial intelligence. The opposition and NGOs fear that the path will be opened to a generalized and permanent control

France is looking at how to guarantee the smooth running of the next Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The sports mega-event will be held in Paris in the summer of 2024 and is expected to attract more than 13 million people to the French capital.

Given the large influx and the fear of not having enough security agents, the Government of Emmanuel Macron wants to approve a bill in an accelerated manner that includes for the first time the use of surveillance cameras equipped with algorithms.

Opposition and human rights groups fear it will open the way to widespread and permanent video surveillance.

The bill relating to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games is an "indispensable" step for the "preparation" of the international event, said the Minister of Sports and Olympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, after its adoption at the end of January by the Senate, controlled by the right.

The text, highly focused on security, is now being examined by the National Assembly.

Article 7 includes an unprecedented element: the "experimental" use of artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze images from surveillance cameras and detect suspicious movements or abandoned objects.

Through these programs, the police would receive notifications in real time to act, depending on the case.

If the law is passed, it will be the first time artificial intelligence devices have been legally used to ensure safety in public space in France.

Avoid the fiasco of the Champions League of 2022

The Executive wants to avoid at all costs a repeat of the fiasco of the Champions League final in May 2022, when television viewers from all over the world attended scenes of chaos and violence unleashed by the poor organization of the authorities before the arrival of dozens of of thousands of Liverpool fans to the Stade de France, in Saint-Denis.

It also seeks to avoid any risk of a terrorist act.

Artificial intelligence systems would help monitor the 600,000 people who will witness the opening ceremony of the Games on July 26, 2024. They would also be used around stadiums, on the streets and on public transport.

The use of these devices is a "turning point" in terms of surveillance, said the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL), which is in charge of guaranteeing the protection of personal data.

In an opinion, he recalled that with this type of cameras "people are no longer simply filmed, but are analyzed automatically, in real time, to collect certain information about them."

The independent body recommended modifying some aspects of the project to strengthen the guarantees of privacy protection.

The Government argues that the deployment of these "augmented" cameras is purely experimental and limited in time and space.

The bill initially restricted its use to June 30, 2025 and "sports, recreational or cultural events", that is, far beyond the games.

But on Wednesday, the deputies finally adopted amendments to limit its use to December 31, 2024. The Executive also insists that the use of facial recognition has been excluded.

The Senate considers, however, submitting a bill for this type of technology.

For some rights organizations and opposition groups, using cameras with algorithms represents a red line.

"This law is a Trojan horse in terms of security," denounced Senator Guy Benarroche, from the environmental group.

"With the pretext of ensuring the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Pandora's box is being opened," agreed Éliane Assassi, from the communist group.

Given the accelerated procedure chosen by the Government to approve the law, the surveillance devices can already be applied in the country foreseeably for the Rugby World Cup in September 2023. La Quadrature du Net, a digital rights NGO, fears that the measure will be come back permanent.

There is precedent: in 2017, measures designed to be temporary under the State of emergency after the 2015 attacks were transferred to legislation.

“The Olympic Games and mega-sporting events are generally used for that,” as a showcase for security policies and technologies, says Noémi Levain, a legal scholar at the NGO.

In a report, he recalls that countries like Brazil, China, the United Kingdom and Japan took advantage of these appointments to expand the powers of their security forces.

Myrtille Picaud, security policy researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), explains in an article that "if major sporting events are accelerators for the security industry, it is also because they provide a unique opportunity to test technical devices in real life".

Critics also point out that the effectiveness of these devices is not proven.

Senator Jean-Claude Requier, from the European Democratic and Social Regroupment group, voted in favor of the bill, although he doubts that these cameras would have prevented the fiasco at the Stade de France or the attack on the weekly Charlie



“Seeing technological innovation as the obvious solution is a dangerous chimera,” he remarked.

The devices, Levin insists, threaten to change people's relationship with the public space and with the security forces.

He claims to bring these technologies out of opacity with more debate.

“The Olympic Games can develop very well without these technologies”, concludes the lawyer.

Follow all the international information on




, or in

our weekly newsletter


Subscribe to continue reading

Read without limits

Keep reading

I'm already a subscriber

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-10

You may like

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.