Digital Economy Blog – 2024 Olympic Games: Use of facial recognition?

In preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games which will take place in Paris, and for the sake of the security of this international event, the adoption of facial recognition is a subject which has upset French public opinion, but which remains excluded from the organization of the Olympic Games. .

The new bill relating to the organization of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and submitted to Parliament in November 2022, definitively excludes the use of facial recognition during the 2024 Olympic Games, but the latter remains a controversial subject of interest to the French in particular. the CNIL, especially with the possible violation of the GDPR if this measure is adopted.

Some advocate the adoption of facial recognition as a security measure.

With the absence of a legal framework on the possibility of adopting facial recognition in the 2024 Olympics or even in airports, some players in the field have considered that the safety of the population takes precedence over the protection of privacy. people.

Moreover, the senator from the North Marc-Philippe Daubresse affirmed to the “Public Sénat” that “We have to accept that we can experiment with a certain number of use cases which may be linked to terrorism, the protection of large sports sites, or the need for the police to check that the person in front of them is not registered in the criminal record. All of this can be done, but in a controlled and proportionate way. ».

The regulation of facial recognition: a measure at the service of digital sovereignty

According to Daubresse, if a terrorist attack takes place in a crowd during the Olympic Games, the safety of individuals obliges the organizers to prefer the use of facial recognition, but on condition that this use is regulated at national and European level.

This regulation could ensure France but also Europe a certain digital sovereignty, especially with the American and Chinese domination in terms of technology.

Some are radically against interference in the privacy of French people, and consider this measure a violation of the GDPR, but are for the adoption of surveillance measures that are well regulated and controlled by the CNIL.

According to Le Monde, Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin, still against facial recognition, asked the Prime Minister to negotiate to implement video surveillance by adopting artificial intelligence. He adds that this method “makes it possible to target not such and such an individual, but people responding to such a report, or even categories of gestures, such as the degradation of public property”.

Moreover, facial recognition in the 2024 Olympics is radically excluded by Parliament.

Despite the implementation in 2019 of an experimental phase of video surveillance by facial recognition, the security system for the 2024 Olympics ruled out facial recognition, especially since the CNIL has always considered it a violation of the GDPR.


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