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Olympic Games 2024 – The adoption of smart cameras


Legal watch

Publication date

15 February 2023

Artificial intelligence – The bill focuses on the development of a video protection system deployed on the public highway, the processing of which is carried out by artificial intelligence.

This system is experimental and aims in particular to ensure the security of sporting events. The installation of these augmented cameras, whose image processing is carried out by artificial intelligence, will make it possible to detect predetermined situations in real time in the places hosting these events or in their vicinity.

Due to their size and circumstances, the Olympic Games are particularly prone to the threat of terrorist attacks or serious security incidents. 

Usually, drone and video protection images are viewed by specially designated agents. Since it is impossible for humans to process all the images captured in real time, the implementation of video protection using artificial intelligence would meet an operational need for law enforcement officers (Fabrice MATTALIA, JCP n°4, January 30th 2023, Expérimentation de caméras intelligentes pour les JO de 2024 : quel encadrement juridique ?).

The processing of these images would also make it possible to draw up statistical analyses and improve the management of high-density areas.

This technology would make it possible to report situations that are a threat to public order to the authorised agents, who would then take over and decide what action to take. The latter would then take over and decide what action to take.

Control by the CNIL – The Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) considers that it is essential that the implementation of such a system be carried out initially in the form of an experiment, given the new and substantial issues it raises in terms of privacy.

Processing using artificial intelligence will first require authorisation by decree issued after the CNIL has given its opinion. Subsequently, they will be subject to a prefectural order for each event where such use is being considered.

The “intelligent” system will not be able to generate any personal decision or prosecution on the basis of the images. Furthermore, no biometric data will be used in order to avoid facial recognition techniques.

As part of its supervisory powers, the CNIL will check the legality of the devices and supervise their deployment. It also recommends that an impact analysis be carried out on data protection, pseudonymisation or blurring of images, and that the use of third-party service providers be supervised (CNIL, deliberation n° 2022-118, Ddécember 8th. 2022, opinion on a draft law on the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games).

Finally, the CNIL notes that all rights of opposition, access, rectification and deletion will apply.

Validation by the Council of State – On 15 December 2022, the Council of State considered that this system was subject to spatial and temporal limits and a legal framework designed to ensure a balance between the security imperative of these large-scale events and the preservation of fundamental rights and freedoms (Counsil of State, opinion, December 15th 2022, n° 406383).

The Council of State also recalled the need for continuous supervision by the CNIL during the implementation of the system, both upstream through an opinion prior to the decree establishing the general framework, and downstream by exercising control throughout the duration of the experimentation

Beyond this major provision, other measures complete the security aspect of the Olympic bill.


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