Paris 2024 Olympic security bill could enable use of surveillance using artificial intelligence

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP

The NGO Amnesty International France and some left-wing politicians have expressed concern over the Olympic security bill being debated in the French Senate this week. The text would legalise the use of surveillance based on artificial intelligence systems for the first time, measures that could reach beyond the scope of the Games.

With security one of the key concerns for the international event, which kicks off in 18 months time, authorities are keen to avoid a fiaso like the one after the Champions League final at the end of May last year.

Ticket holders at the Stade de France at one of the events found themselves blocked at the entrance, and resulted i families being sprayed with tear gas by the police. Multiple thefts and assaults were also reported.

To secure the Paris 2024 Olympics, likely to attract 13 million spectators, and some 600,000 people for the opening ceremony along the banks of the Seine on 26 July, authorities are banking on the use of special automated video cameras designed to detect "suspicious activity" in the crowds using artificial intelligence algorithms.

Installed both around the sporting venues and in adjacent transport, the cameras will be able to detect "abandoned objects", or allow "statistical analyses, crowd flow," according to the impact study of the proposed bill.

Rugby World Cup experiment

This experimental tool, if approved by lawmakers, could be tested during the Rugby World Cup (8 September - 28 October) and left in place until 30 June, 2025.


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