Public, athlete and journalist safety behind digital monitoring – French government
A video surveillance system proposed by the French government for use during the 2024 Summer
Olympics in Paris has received legislative approval. The National Assembly’s law committee
approved the system, with a time limit until December 24, 2024. The system consists of real-time
camera systems powered by an algorithm which the authorities state is designed to detect
potentially dangerous or suspicious behaviours.
However, the proposed system has faced criticism from some French politicians and digital rights
organizations who argue that it may violate privacy standards. Civil society groups, including La
Quadrature du Net, Access Now, and Amnesty International, have expressed concerns about the
possibility of the measures becoming permanent, which could conflict with the EU’s Artificial
Intelligence Act. Despite a petition from La Quadrature du Net to remove the AI-powered
surveillance component, the petition was unsuccessful in gathering enough votes.
In response to these concerns, lawmakers have taken steps to increase transparency and public
awareness regarding the cameras’ locations and to involve both the cybersecurity agency ANSSI and privacy regulator CNIL. They have also expanded the pool of data and images that can be used to train the algorithms before the Olympics. The bill is set to go before a full plenary vote on March 21 for final approval.