Augmented cameras: the CNIL warns of the illegal proliferation of these devices

Faced with the proliferation of augmented cameras in public space, the CNIL recalled that this device was illegal and that it represented risks for the privacy of French people.

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The National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL)) warned against the misuse of augmented cameras. The policeman of the private life of the French thinks that this surveillance device is illegal and that it jeopardizes the rights of citizens. Augmented cameras (or smart cameras) are a whole new kind of public surveillance cameras. They are more precisely recording devices which are associated with artificial intelligence software.

These then allow automatic analysis of passers-by behavior. To go into details, these augmented cameras can notably detect suspicious behavior, infringements, abandoned luggage or even the abnormally long presence of a person in a specific place. These augmented cameras are multiplying in municipalities. And faced with the more than growing number of these devices on our streets, the CNIL is finally sounding the alarm.

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Augmented cameras are a danger to privacy, according to the CNIL

According to the CNIL, smart cameras “pose new risks to privacy”. And the organization insists on the need to create “a very clear legal framework” as to the use of these tools, with “regulatory or legislative texts authorizing the use of these cameras in public spaces“. The policeman of the private life of the French specifies that the use of this type of camera in a purely statistical framework is not really a problem. This is particularly the case when these cameras are used, for example, to calculate crowds in the metro and display to travelers the least full trains to which they must go.

On the other hand, the CNIL is concerned about their use in the context of identifying individuals and behaviors. Concretely, thee “deployment of these devices in public spaces where many individual freedoms are exercised presents risks for the rights and freedoms of individuals” indicated the CNIL. The latter is even more alarmist by emphasizing that “these smart cameras can lead to a generalized surveillance society” or that they can even “modify the behavior of people traveling in the street or going to stores”.

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