Why the cameras used to secure the Paris Olympics are controversial

David Montagne

In view of the Paris Olympics in 2024 and its expected 13 million spectators, including 600,000 on the banks of the Seine for the opening ceremony, the Senate this week adopted the flagship article of the Olympic bill. This text allows the experimentation of augmented cameras. A controversial project.

One year from the Paris Olympics, the question is not yet settled: how to ensure the security of the event? The Senate on Tuesday adopted the flagship article of the Olympic bill, focused on security. This text authorizes the experimentation of cameras equipped with algorithms. A bill that is not unanimous among communists and environmentalists but also among lawyers who see it as an attack on public freedoms. What are these augmented cameras?

Be more efficient in detecting abnormal elements

These new generation cameras combine video surveillance and artificial intelligence. The goal: to detect and report a crowd movement, an abandoned package or even a person with abnormal behavior. Concretely, computer software will make it possible to seek out suspicious elements in a huge flood of information, with a precision and speed that the naked eye could not detect.

The cameras will be installed inside and around the stadiums, but also in the transport serving these places. This new process will also be able to equip drones with the same objective, help law enforcement to react quickly and make the most appropriate decisions. The algorithm will also be able to establish statistical analyses, on traffic flows for example.

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