The Senate is currently reviewing a bill related to the surveillance of the public during the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The bill proposes the use of smart cameras that can automatically detect disturbances during concentrations of people.
The bill has caused some concerns, particularly regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for automatic recognition via video surveillance, which could potentially lead to the use of automated facial recognition.
The government has not yet explained how it plans to use the AI, but organizations such as La Quadrature du Net and CNIL are closely monitoring the situation.
CNIL President Marie-Laure Denis has stated that the use of AI will be limited to “sports enclosures and near transport” and that the organization will closely monitor the making of the algorithms and evaluate their learning.
She also emphasized that the government must not take advantage of this opportunity to introduce facial recognition and that data retention will be closely monitored to ensure that data is deleted when it should be.
And then there is the management of algorithms. Futura explained yesterday that an AI trained to detect people could be fooled when you move hidden in a box. Won’t an AI see a violation or crowd movement where there is none? To avoid slippage, the text provides that the monitoring device is controlled by humans who can interrupt it at any time.
In addition to the technical aspects, there are also fears that this law could become permanent and not be limited to the 2024 Olympic Games. First, the bill proposes to experiment with the process during major sporting events, from the entry into force of the law until June 30, 2025. By arguing with the necessarily anxiety-provoking term of “terrorism risk”, the systems could therefore be used beyond the framework of the Olympic Games 2024.
Then, it should be noted that this goes even beyond sport, since the law would also apply to recreational or cultural events. Ultimately, these provisions show that the intention of this project is permanent. This is in any case the opinion of the Council of State. The institution recently explained in an opinion that the text is designed to be able to apply outside the period of the Olympic Games. By way of safeguard safeguard the law explains that the experimentation will be systematically subjected to authorization of the prefecture. It remains to be seen what the Senate will decide during its public session today.