The Senate applied for a test on facial recognition

The Senate wants to protect itself from biometric surveillance – including a “sandbox” system for biometric surveillance.

The Senate Law Commission has released a contradictory report on biometrics, aimed at preventing France from becoming a country of mass biometric surveillance and recommending the establishment of a three-year regulatory sandbox to test biometric mass surveillance systems. A period that will include the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Prior to its publication, the Senate Law Commission, unanimously adopted by the Public Senate, reported that the “Information Report” commission was conducted by three senators throughout its eight-month draft mission.

The report on “Biometric Recognition in Public Spaces: 30 Proposals to Eliminate a Surveillance Society’s Risk” seems contradictory from the outset:

“In October 2020, the Senate Law Commission created an information mission on face recognition, a technology that is rapidly evolving to learn algorithms and polarizing public opinion among supporters of a moratorium on all biometric technologies, which would naturally be detrimental to independence, and Highlights the potential benefits.

At a time when legislation on artificial intelligence is being enacted at the European level, it is imperative to create a unified response to the use of biometric recognition technology so that in the years to come, the industry will not be overwhelmed by development. A

Proposition 1 creates a platform for consultation to find ways to persuade French citizens to adopt more biometric surveillance:

“Conduct a national survey aimed at assessing the perception of biometric recognition by the French, identifying the areas of use which they find less favorable and the sources of better acceptability of this technology.”

Proposals 2 to 6 are “red lines” to eliminate the risk of becoming a surveillance society.

Yet there are exceptions to the proposed biometric surveillance ban in almost all cases: no classification based on race, gender or sexual orientation – except for scientific research; There is no analysis of emotions – without scientific research; There is no live facial recognition in public spaces – except for the police department in some cases.

Then, in Proposition 7, things go wrong:

“Decide on an experimental law, for three years, under which conditions and for which purpose biometric recognition may be subject to new tests by public actors or in open spaces to the public and provide for detailed annual submission. Report to Parliament on its application, the last of which Six months before the end of the trial.

Proposition 8 would require regular evaluation by a single, independent scientific and ethical committee to educate the French about the benefits and risks of three years of surveillance prior to the intent of Resolution 9. By Proposition 11, senators recommend that private actors submit their technologies to CNIL, the data privacy regulator, for biometric surveillance of public places.

The list always goes to the larger surveillance society which the report explicitly wants to avoid. Recommendation 16: “On an experimental basis, create a legal framework that allows the use of biometric authentication technology to secure access to certain events and streamline the flow based on public consent. A

The report acknowledges that using biometric recognition to control access to certain locations would be daunting without the use of non-biometric alternatives, but Proposition 17 “on an experimental basis” provides an exception to this situation. To ensure safety, the proposal provides real-time biometric screening of 22 events and the road to protect sensitive sites.

Adding to the European context, the proposals support the formation of a European authority responsible for assessing the reliability of biometric recognition algorithms and verifying the absence of bias. To go further, they plan to provide an image database at the European Union level to the authorities in charge of artificial intelligence so that it can be given a way to do so.

“Feed this database through a number of processes inspired by the proposed EU regulations on European data governance. Establish appropriate measures to notify citizens and make it possible for them to request the withdrawal of their data from the database at any time. A

The report covers security measures to combat AI bias and strengthen CNIL’s regulatory powers. However, proposing a three-year trial period and explicitly referring to the 2024 Olympics as an event that requires protection, reveals the position of the French government’s upper house commission des lois.

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