This is the flagship article of the Olympic bill, very focused on security. The Senate overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday January 24 for the experimentation of cameras equipped with algorithms starting this year. The objective is to be able to deploy this system for the 2024 Games.
For the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, this text contains “the essential adjustments to fulfill our commitments and our operational needs for the delivery and smooth running of the Olympics”. The debate was calmed down, including on the most sensitive points. The article was voted on by 243 for and 27 against.
This law comes a few months after the fiasco of the Champions League final at the end of May at the Stade de France. Spectators without tickets climbing the gates, ticket holders blocked at the entrance, families sprayed with tear gas by the police or even thefts and assaults, the final had turned into a nightmare.
To secure the Paris Olympics, likely to attract 13 million spectators, and some 600,000 people for the opening ceremony along the banks of the Seine on July 26, the help of cameras to detect suspicious movements in the crowds is demanded by the authorities.
Both around the enclosures and in the adjacent transports, they will also be able to detect “abandoned objects”or allow “statistical analyses, of traffic flows for example”according to the impact study of the law.
Opposition from Communists and Ecologists
The measure is not to the liking of the National Bar Council (CNB). “The lawyers will not let the Olympic Games turn into a Lépine competition for attacks on individual freedoms”, its president Jérôme Gavaudan warned on Tuesday. The association La Quadrature du net is not losing its temper either.
The communist and ecologist senators have marked their opposition. “The Olympics are a pretext to play sorcerer’s apprentice, the market is huge”regretted the environmentalist senator Thomas Dossus, even though it is a question of “absolutely immature technologies” which moreover could ” to feed “ systems that are then potentially useful for “tyrannies on the other side of the world”. Eliane Assassi (PCF) lambasted the Olympics becoming “a monitoring accelerator” and a text ” Trojan horse “.
On the side of the PS, the senators are concerned “to support development in good conditions”. But they did not manage to bring back to September 2024 and not June 2025 the end of the period of experimentation.
The experimentation of these new tools will be able to start from the entry into force of the law, but also for demonstrations “recreational” and “cultural”. The text was retouched by the government after the opinion of the National Commission for IT and Freedoms (Cnil) and the Council of State.
No facial recognition
When the session resumed in the evening, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin came to defend this measure, explaining that it was important to “developing a French framework” after a little earlier Amélie Oudéa-Castéra reiterated that the government “didn’t want facial recognition for the Olympics”. Marc-Philippe Daubresse (LR) indicated on Tuesday that he would file a bill on the subject.
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The Minister of the Interior also defended the measure allowing “to sift” the persons intervening in the fan zones (subject them to an administrative investigation) because otherwise, “we would leave a huge field of action to terrorists”. An LR amendment aimed at being able to screen the “temporaries” has been adopted.
Another security measure: body scanners, which could somewhat supplant the lack of private security agents, and in particular of women, that everyone anticipates. The installation of these scanners takes place “before joining the army”launched Mr. Darmanin, responding to David Assouline (PS) who tabled an amendment on the subject.
A solemn vote is scheduled for January 31.