We, 38 civil society organizations, have serious concerns about Article 7 of the proposed law for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in France. This law enables algorithm-driven surveillance cameras in public spaces. If passed, France would be the first EU member to legalize such practices, which we believe infringe on international human rights, privacy, and freedom of assembly.

 

The legislation also extends surveillance reasons, categorizing behaviors like begging or stationary gatherings as “atypical.” This risks stigmatizing and discriminating against those who spend more time in public spaces due to homelessness, economic vulnerabilities, or disability. Surveillance technology leads to permanent tracking that can disproportionately harm marginalized groups.

 

Article 7 – III mistakenly claims that these surveillance systems will not process biometric data, contradicting EU’s General Data Protection Regulation definition. AI systems used to classify “risky” behaviors based on biometric data could infringe on privacy rights. This measure could conflict with the upcoming EU AI Act, which might prohibit biometric categorization due to its potential risks to fundamental rights.

 

We fear that this law would normalize surveillance powers, often implemented in the name of security but seldom withdrawn later. It sets a worrisome precedent for other European nations. We urge you to discuss these concerns with civil society and reconsider this legislation. We’re open to further discussions.

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