Smart cameras: the CNIL consults the French

The surveillance cameras have been considerably democratized in recent years thanks to many players, often Chinese, offering devices at low prices. At the same time, new so-called “intelligent” or “augmented” models, in other words doped with artificial intelligence, have appeared. A rapidly growing global market which is not without concern for the CNIL, which is taking up the subject and launching a public consultation.

Smart or augmented cameras: a risk for our freedoms?

With an ambitious vision about to growth of 7% per year and an estimated turnover of 11 billion in 2020 by the firm Marketsandmarkets, the artificial intelligence-based “augmented” video market is growing rapidly. The National Association of Video Protection (AN2V) also estimates that the sector represents no less than 1,6 billion euros in turnover in France in 2020, although more than a third of CCTV equipment installed is imported from China.

A significant financial windfall which should not, however, overshadow the risks to the rights and freedoms of individuals according to the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL) which specifies that "by their very operation, based on the continuous and real-time detection and analysis of the attributes or behavior of individuals, "augmented" video devices inherently present risks for the persons concerned".

Indeed, if the objectives assigned to these new devices are most often legitimate, the administrative authority notes that their deployment very often involves collection and analysis of data from individuals. A problem if these circulate in public space or in places open to the public, but also in the private sphere, the CNIL stressing that their uncontrolled development presents the “risks generalizing a feeling of surveillance among citizens […] and generating increased surveillance, likely to undermine the proper functioning of our democratic society. »

A risk that is all the greater since smart cameras are not specifically provided for by the texts. That is why the CNIL proposes to provide adequate supervision which would be added to all the guarantees that these "smart" devices must provide with regard to the GDPR (demonstration of their necessity and proportionality, limited retention period, pseudonymization or anonymization measures, absence of individual monitoring, etc.).

A public consultation

Faced with a risk of generalized surveillance, the French administrative authority wishes to mobilize all the actors of "augmented" video around the issues of protection of fundamental freedoms and allow all citizens to inform it of their position vis-à-vis this technology through a public consultation 8 weeks who will take end March 11, 2022.

Your comments and suggestions will enable the CNIL to better "explain its understanding, reflections and analyzes on the subject from an ethical, technical and legal point of view" and enrich its position to better submit it to the public authorities to which it provides an advisory service and which can, if necessary, strengthen the legislative arsenal to better regulate the use of these systems.

Respond to the consultation

Fascinated by Alexa since the day I received it in beta test, I gradually became passionate about the subject, before deciding to go further by creating a site with Jean-Christophe. An activity that allows me to quench my thirst for new technologies and share my discoveries about the nicest of communities: Les Alexiens.