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the CNIL asks for the opinion of the French

The institution wishes to lay the foundations of a legal framework for “intelligent or augmented cameras”, and needs your proposals to achieve this.

In recent years, artificial intelligence has proliferated in all sectors of activity, from science to art to industry. But this is also the case in the field of video. A trend that worries the Commission Nationale Informatique & Libertés (CNIL); the latter has therefore launched a public consultation to gather the opinion of the French on the subject.

The institution has thus unveiled a positioning project on cameras designated as “intelligent” or “augmented”. Note that this does not concern biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, but all “automated image processing software coupled with cameras” Who “make it possible to extract various information from the resulting video streams” and “modify their very nature through their capacity for detection and automated analysis”.

Anticipating a major societal change

This somewhat nebulous and counter-intuitive vocabulary can encompass a whole host of diverse and varied systems, most of which have not even been conceptualized yet. We therefore leave the framework of the simple “extension” of existing techniques; this poses new ethical and legal issues on which the CNIL wishes get as far ahead as possible. She launched the debate with a draft official position on the issue, available here.

The CNIL thus hopes “highlight the ethical and societal issues of this technology and the graduated risks for the rights and freedoms of individuals”. She reminds us that there is a real “risk of permanent algorithmic surveillance and analysis of public spaces” which justifies taking an interest in it as soon as possible.

The document published by the CNIL sets out “its understanding, reflections and analyzes on the subject from an ethical, technical and legal point of view”. The goal: take ownership of the issue before it spirals out of control. The text contains several preliminary observations on its potential uses and on the current legislative and economic situation, as well as proposals for a legal framework.

The CNIL is open to proposals

But insofar as it is an innovative technology with a still vague framework, the institution is well aware of the limits of its analysis. It therefore seeks to cast as wide a net as possible. This is why it has chosen to allow individuals and institutions to offer comments, additions or changes to the text. These will be compiled, dissected and then taken into account when the official positioning is published.

After reading the institution’s report, you can go to this address until March 11, 2022. You will find four fields where you can indicate your comments and suggestions to the CNIL so that it takes them into account in the final version of the document. A way to make your small civic contribution during this technological and societal shift.

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