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Paris will keep using ‘augmented’ cameras even after the Olympic Games

During the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the city of Paris will be deploying so-called ‘augmented’ cameras to secure the safety of spectators. The cameras will be in place till March 2025.

The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), the French data protection authority (DPA), says that ‘augmented’ cameras will be an integral part of Paris’ security plans during the Olympic and Paralympic games.

‘Augmented’ cameras are cameras that are equipped with software for automatic image analysis. They are able to detect and recognize suspicious circumstances, such as peculiar behavior by visitors, specific objects that are left behind, the start of a fire or the presence of firearms.

These augmented cameras will be used during the event for mobilizing police officers and volunteers, accreditation of athletes and accompanying persons, and security and ticketing for spectators. Specifically, the cameras can only be used at the event, in the vicinity of the event and in public transportation.

The French DPA emphasizes that the images the augmented cameras record will always be reviewed by a human person before any action is taken. Furthermore, the cameras aren’t equipped with facial recognition software because of the potential privacy risks.

Lastly, the data the augmented cameras collect will be saved for a maximum of one year after recording. Experts want to use the images to improve the quality of detection. A law that was created by the Department of Interior Affairs for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, will provide the necessary legal basis.

That same law says that the city of Paris is allowed to use the augmented cameras after the event is over, albeit temporary. The law determines that the experiment ends on March 31 2025. After this date augmented cameras can no longer be used, except when it’s extended by a new law.

Spectators cannot object to the images the augmented cameras record during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. They can however exercise their right to access, delete, rectify or limit the use of images and alerts that are generated by the cameras during the design phase.

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