The National Assembly of France has given the French government permission to utilise artificial intelligence-based video monitoring at the planned 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Civil rights organisations have criticised this move, arguing that it will endanger civil liberties.

According to the government, the algorithmic videos will assist them in identifying "predetermined events," suspicious activity, and crowd surges, allowing them to manage the massive crowds at the event more effectively. The Senate and Assembly have given the government the go-ahead. This can still be contested, though, at the highest constitutional court.

France will become the first nation in the European Union to legalise AI-powered surveillance at a public event if the proposal receives final approval.

Considering that no biometric data will be used, it is surprising that France's privacy authority, CNIL, is also in favour of the law.Daniel Leufer, policy advisor at digital rights organisation Access Now, stated, “[France] can do two things: object detection or analysis of human behaviour - the latter is the processing of biometric data.” The company is supporting the banning of the collection of biometric data in public spaces in the EU’s AI Act. 

Amnesty International and other digital rights organisations are among the rights organisations who have strongly opposed the use of AI surveillance. They contend that technology imposes a perilous boundary on civil liberties and constitutes a threat to them.

For those who are unaware, this argument is taking place while the European Union considers its own AI Act, which will determine how artificial intelligence is used in Europe. Over the past two years, this act has been in the works.