“Augmented” cameras at the 2024 Olympics

Allow the police to detect the movement of the crowd or an abandoned package as soon as possible, but also a person whose behavior is considered abnormal (because they are running in the opposite direction from the crowd or have not moved for a long time ). These are some of the features enabled by the so-called augmented (or intelligent) cameras that should be placed in and around the stadiums during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

And even more: the bill that was adopted in the committee and will be examined in the public session in the Senate from January 24 plans to extend this experiment until the summer of 2025. The government takes that into account before taking this device for the exploitation of the images by artificial intelligence, it will be necessary to check it with other events considered to be at risk for security (concerts, etc.).

Ratification of guarantees

Security: this is undoubtedly the heart of this text related to the Olympic Games, whose 19 articles provide a certain number of deductions and experiments..

The Senate Law Commission adopted the text on Wednesday January 18, but added some “accuracy changes that strengthen safeguards”, while being welcomed by the rapporteur Agnès Canayer (LR) in the Public Senate. The public should be notified “in any appropriate manner” the use of these algorithmic tools… except when “This information is contrary to the objectives pursued”. Some amendments to the LR tried to push video surveillance further, by including facial recognition, for example, but they were deemed unacceptable.

Although experimental, the deployment of these augmented cameras constitutes a “turn around” according to the CNIL (National Commission for Computing and Liberties). “This is not just an extension of conventional video surveillance; it is a change of nature”, insists Marie Duboys Fresney, lawyer at Cnil. People are no longer just filmed but analyzed in an automated way, in real time, representing a risk “in the exercise of freedoms in public space”whether it is the freedom to come and go, to demonstrate or to assemble. “We have been calling for a public debate on the new uses of video for years: what kind of society do we want? »continues Marie Duboys Fresney.

The techniques have been tested

Automated video surveillance has already been deployed on an experimental basis in several cities in France – “at least fifty”, according to the association for the defense of digital freedoms La quadrature du Net, which recognizes them through its “Technopolice” initiative. Marseille, Nice, Valenciennes, but also the Isère village of Moirans… The association denounces the public contracts that have been concluded “in opacity” and “outside any legal framework” between these municipalities and private service providers.

In Vannes, the most video-surveilled city in Brittany, resident and lawyer Raphaël Balloul said he discovered the project to install two augmented cameras (one for pedestrians, the other for cars ) after being unsealed, in the fall of 2021, the administrative documents are open to the public. “Even the municipal opposition does not know”, said the one who filed an appeal in the administrative court of Rennes more than a year ago. Testing continues, and the municipality now denies wanting to use these algorithmic devices.

A “fait accompli strategy”

“France will legislate these technologies even before the administrative justice rules in the various cases taking place”, denounced Félix Tréguer, member of La quadrature du Net in Marseille, where the dispute had been going on for two years. These activists are hated a “fait accompli strategy” and it is regrettable that the parliamentary debate is taking place in the middle of pension reform.

The text will be examined only once (instead of twice) by the Senate and then the Assembly, with the government starting the accelerated procedure. In studying its effect, the executive determined that it was “important” to start the experiment as soon as the law goes into effect, that is, a few months before the Olympic Games, “to train the algorithms and have the best tools possible during this large-scale event”.


The other provisions of the text

The 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games Bill provides for some deviations from the normal rules and some experiments.

To fight dopingwill allow new analysis techniques (analysis of genetic characteristics or comparison of athletes’ genetic fingerprints).

In terms of securityin addition to the use of artificial intelligence in video surveillance, the use of body scanners will be possible at the entrance to stadiums and other sports venues that host more than 300 people.

Besides this, shops may open on Sundays in cities that will host sports competitions or in neighboring cities, after the agreement of the employees concerned.

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