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France’s privacy chief warns against using facial recognition for 2024 Olympics – POLITICO

PARIS – The president of the French data protection authority, Marie-Laure Denis, warned on Tuesday against the use of facial recognition as part of the security toolkit of the Paris Summer Olympics 2024.

“The members of the CNIL college call on parliamentarians not to introduce facial recognition, that is to say the identification of people on the fly in public space,” she told franceinfo.

The French government is seeking to bolster France’s arsenal of surveillance powers to ensure the safety of the millions of tourists expected for the Paris Summer Olympics in 2024. Plans include AI-powered cameras for the first time, but not facial recognition.

The plenary session of the Senate begins today to vote on the law introducing the new powers. Senators are split between those who want to add privacy safeguards and those who want to push the surveillance and security arsenal further, primarily by introducing facial recognition.

“The Amendment [to include facial recognition] was rejected by the Senate Law Commission, but may return [in the plenary session]“, warned the head of the CNIL.

Civil liberties NGOs such as La Quadrature du Net and the League for Human Rights are currently campaigning against experimental AI-powered surveillance cameras. Denis, however, tried to allay concerns.

The CNIL will monitor algorithmic training to ensure there is no bias and images of people are removed in a timely manner, she said. The experience will “not necessarily” become permanent, she added.

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