La Quadrature du Net goes to war against the “technopolice”, with sacred ambitions

Alexander Boero

September 26, 2022 at 1:15 p.m.


cctv-camera.jpg © Pixabay


After several months of collecting mandates, La Quadrature du Net launched its collective action before the CNIL (National Commission for Computing and Liberties), to protest against the use of identification technologies by the Ministry of the Interior. .

In just a few months, La Quadrature du Net has managed the feat of collecting mandates from 15,248 people, in order to file three complaints against the various pillars of what is known as “the Technopolice”, namely the filing, the facial recognition, surveillance cameras and algorithmic video surveillance (VSA). The three complaints were the subject of a “festive filing” with the CNIL at the end of the day on Saturday, on the sidelines of the Technolopolice festival in Marseille.

La Quadrature calls for the end of video surveillance in France

The appeal is of an unusual scale, but it testifies to the undermining work carried out by La Quadrature du Net over the past six months and also to the inconvenience caused in public opinion by the various police surveillance tools, today deployed a almost everywhere in the country.

As our colleagues from Mediapart, the first of three complaints lodged against the Ministry of the Interior aims to remove all the surveillance cameras installed in France, to put an end to video surveillance. LQDN considers that their deployment goes against the GDPR, in that the effectiveness of video surveillance has never been demonstrated, based in particular on various university works or on a study by the Court of Auditors on municipal police. .

In theory, any collection of data must indeed respond to a legitimate interest and fulfill a mission of public interest. ” In law, it is forbidden to use surveillance cameras without demonstrating their usefulness “, adds La Quadrature, which believes that” all cameras authorized by the state in France therefore seem to be illegal “. Consequently, the end of surveillance cameras would lead to the end of algorithmic video surveillance, which combines cameras and intelligent software to identify suspicious behavior.

Files that requisition more and more data

The second complaint filed by LQDN attacks the processing of criminal records (TAJ). In this file are registered all the people involved in a judicial investigation, and whether they are implicated, suspected or simple victims. The police and the gendarmerie have access to it, as well as the administration in the event of recruitment to a sensitive position. This document would have 20 million records, including ” many (…) have no connection with an offense “.

This second complaint also attacks facial recognition, a hot topic for several years, against which La Quadrature du Net is already headwind. The TAJ was born from the merger of two files, and a decree issued in 2012 made it possible to register the ” photograph comprising technical characteristics allowing the use of a facial recognition device “. Since then, the police have, according to the association, increased the use of this facial recognition, on this legal basis. 1,680 facial recognition operations would thus be carried out every day.

The last complaint, finally, concerns the file of secure electronic documents (TES), created in 2015 and which includes in its field the personal and biometric data of passport holders, and since 2016 those linked to identity cards. This ” honest people file “, which continues to expand, has been criticized for several years, and the data it integrates is stored centrally. The CNIL and the ANSSI (National Agency for the Security of Information Systems), have already pointed the finger at this system.

So what can the CNIL do upon receipt of these three complaints? Not much from a legal point of view, but it can still use its power to advise and support the government, which La Quadrature du Net and the 15,000 complainants fervently hope for.

Sources: Squaring the Net, Mediapart

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