The Senate wants legislation on the recognition of faces in public spaces

The fact-finding mission on facial recognition in public spaces proposed them on May 11. To draw a portrait of the equipment where prohibition must be the rule, he invited the executive to take up the matter before the 2024 Olympics.

The time has come to intervene in this question, which is not a technical issue but a political issue.It was with these words that Francois-Noel Buffett introduced the presentation of an information report on biometric recognition in public space, prepared by an information mission formed by Senator Mark-Philippe Dobres (LR), Arnaud de Belenet (Centrist Union). And Jerome Durein (PS) understands: France must adopt a legal arsenal for face recognition, even if Europe already provides some protection through the General Protection Regulation (GDPR) and drafts European legislation on artificial intelligence. Senators recommend creating a “Experimental legislation to create controversy and determine the use of biometric recognition that may be relevant and effective

Where is the recognition of the face in France?

Reporters point out that in France, long-term use is limited and mainly due to government authority, in addition to some use of authentication with already deployed consent, such as unlocking a mobile phone or opening a bank account remotely. Since 2012, the police and the Gendarmerie Force have been authorized to use face recognition to identify persons registered with the TAJ, a criminal record processing file. Investigators can thus, if they have a picture of the perpetrator, compare it to the eight million pictures in the file. The tool is set to answer a maximum of 200 answers with a minimum match rate of 40%.

Facial recognition is also used as part of the paragraph system (rapid passage to external borders), often encountered at airports, but not only. There are 217 paragraph airlocks on French territory, most notably in Orly, Royce, Paris-Gare du Nord, but also in Marseille, Nice or Bordeaux. Government authorities also stabbed Alicem in the water, a mobile authentication project run by the Interior Ministry, which was finally abandoned in April 2022. It was replaced by Service D Guarantee Digital Identity (SGIN), the less intrusive, which would allow government or non-government organizations to authenticate via a mobile application and an electronic credential.

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The last few years have been marked by several tests conducted by local authorities. The senators specifically quoted what was conducted in 2019, during the Nice Carnival on a voluntary basis, which Cnil did not oppose. On the other hand, in October 2019, it rejected tests to implement a “virtual portal” of access control by face recognition in two Provencal high schools. Other tests were conducted at Roland Garros or Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, for which Cinille was reluctant.

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Senators insist on a strict use structure

It will be easier to list what we approve of use than what we prohibitJerome Durein comments to the press from Room 206 of the Senate. If they are in favor of an experimental law for three years, the senators who have studied this fine file will want to draw a red line for facial use. Recognition. The Chinese model should not be used to establish a “social notation”, or biometric recognition is used to classify individuals according to their source, their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs, for example, according to them, should also prohibit emotion detection systems. May be approved with exceptions, such as for scientific research.

In general, the report indicates that the rule should prohibit the use of real-time remote biometric recognition in public spaces, and especially during demonstrations on public highways and in the vicinity of places of worship. This is especially true of surveillance cameras placed on the streets, or drones deployed during demonstrations, which caused an uproar during the voting on the global security law. There are, however, a number of exceptions: in the context of a judicial investigation, to facilitate the arrest of a criminal who has committed a serious crime or to find a disturbing missing person, but also in a national security context, to protect large incidents, or sensitive sites against a potential terrorist threat, or In an intelligence context, in the event of an impending threat.

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Ultimately, these experiments must be subject to regular evaluation by a single, independent scientific and ethical committee, whose reports will be made public. In addition to these tests, biometric recognition strategies should provide accessible information to all. A priority and a posterior control system should also be established: approval from the prefect in administrative police or from magistrates in the case of judicial police, and approval from Cnil for the installation of these devices by private actors. The latter will see his power strengthened.

And now?

With the distribution of this information report, senators are now hoping that the executive will take up the matter. A recent ouster by Emmanuel Macron, who described it as “explosive”, especially during the election. Reporters also hope that French law will make it possible to influence later European AI regulations. And a deadline is emerging: the Olympic Games in Paris. “Reporters believe that the use of artificial intelligence in video surveillance from video surveillance changes a scale in the use of video surveillance, which may infringe on individual freedom, requiring a clear legal basis.The report says. This base is even more important because the system will need to be set up to detect abandoned packages or suspicious activity in a crowd to ensure safety during the 2024 Olympic Games.

The Senate Law Commission considers that it is now “Creating a cohesive response to the use of biometric recognition technology in public spaces is essential to keep pace with industry developments in the years to come.“He believes it is important for parliament to take up the matter.”Reject the model of a surveillance society by drawing a red lineThen use this biometric recognition to create a reflection.Multiple and potentially unlimited, some of which can be legitimately tested while others should be discarded, all within the framework of an appropriate control and accountability system

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