French Court upholds AI-Powered surveillance cameras for Paris Olympics, privacy concerns remain

Despite privacy concerns, France’s top court approves AI-powered surveillance cameras for Paris Olympics. Privacy activists and left-leaning lawmakers face a setback. French government welcomes the decision.

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The top constitutional court in France has upheld using AI-powered surveillance cameras for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. The decision comes as a blow to privacy activists and left-leaning lawmakers who had opposed the implementation of such measures. However, the court also provided guidelines for the implementation of the technology.

In its decision, the court stated that the legislation enabling the use of AI-powered surveillance cameras does not violate privacy rights because it ensures that humans maintain control over the development, implementation, and potential evolution of algorithmic processing. The court emphasized the importance of human oversight to safeguard privacy. According to the court’s decision, the purpose of the surveillance system is to prevent public order offenses, which aligns with the Constitution. The cameras will only be deployed during sports, recreational, or cultural events that are at high risk of being targeted in terrorist attacks. Facial recognition technology will not be used in the surveillance system. The council further stated that public authorities must ensure that no biometric surveillance is required for monitoring the events and that the footage and data collected by the cameras are not linked to other databases.

Public authorities must clearly identify the entities responsible for processing personal data, specify the events to be monitored, and provide reasons, locations, and durations for the surveillance. Decisions to utilize the system on an individual basis can be contested in court.

The French government expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision, indicating its support for implementing AI-powered surveillance cameras for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. The French parliament approved the controversial bill in April. The system is scheduled to be operational until March 2025.