French lawmakers to challenge Olympics surveillance before top court – POLITICO


PARIS — French left-leaning lawmakers are preparing to challenge the controversial bill allowing AI-powered cameras at the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics before the country’s top constitutional court, Greens MP Sandra Regol told POLITICO.

“We hope to obtain something [from the Constitutional Council] because the Council of State had many questions to begin with,” Regol said Thursday. “This is a rider law, which touches upon about everything but the Olympic Games.”

The French government wants to experiment with large-scale, real-time camera systems supported by algorithms to spot suspicious behavior, including unsupervised luggage and crowd movements like stampedes, for the mega-sports event next year.

The plan was adopted by the National Assembly last week and by the Senate in January, despite pushback from digital rights NGOs, including France’s La Quadrature du Net, and MEPs. Members of both chambers will gather on Monday to shepherd a common version of the bill.

The signatures of at least 60 members of Parliament are required to file a challenge before the constitutional court. “There are more than enough of us,” said Regol, adding they’ll officially do it after the National Assembly and the Senate’s meeting, most likely “in the next 10 days.”

The Senate, however, won’t join the MPs’ efforts because left-leaning senators couldn’t gather enough support.

The Constitutional Council has a history of scrapping government-pitched measures: In May 2021, the top court struck down an article in a French security law that would have allowed police to use drones during protests.

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