France Introduces AI-Powered Mass Surveillance with the Excuse of Keeping People Safe

Wait, Depeche Mode still exists?

I thought all the members died from GRIDS?


France tested Artificial Intelligence-driven video surveillance technology that will be deployed during the Olympic Games at a Depeche Mode concert this week, calling the exercise a success.

French legislation passed in 2023 permits the use of AI video surveillance for a trial period covering the Games to detect abnormal events or human behaviour at large-scale events.

The technology could be pivotal to thwarting an attack like the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta or the Nice truck attack in 2016, officials say.

Rights campaigners warn the technology poses a threat to civil liberties.

Algorithmic video surveillance uses computer software to analyse images captured by video surveillance cameras in real time.

Four companies — Videtics, Orange Business, ChapsVision and Wintics — have developed AI software that use algorithms to analyse video streams coming from existing video surveillance systems to help identify potential threats in public spaces.

The algorithms are trained to detect pre-determined “events” and abnormal behaviour and send alerts accordingly. Human beings then decide if the alert is real and whether to act on it.

The law allows for eight different “events” to be flagged by AI surveillance software during the Games that include: crowd surges; abnormally heavy crowds; abandoned objects; presence or use of weapons; a person on the ground; a fire breaking out; contravention of rules on traffic direction.

National and local police, firefighters, public transport security agents will all have access to AI-powered surveillance.

Software developed by Wintics and tested at the Depeche Mode concert, will be deployed in the Paris region and on public transport.

Paris Police chief Laurent Nunez described the trial as largely a success.

Everything went relatively well, all the lights are green (for future use),” he said.

The idea is obviously a massive grid that surveils everything you do all the time in real time.

They won’t use it to stop brown people from committing crimes. But they will know what you are doing every second of every day.