Olympic Games 2024: Paris is testing AI-based video surveillance at train stations

AI-based video surveillance will be deployed in Paris in the next few days, and will also be used on a limited basis during the Olympics. For the trial phase, which ran from Friday to Monday, the Paris police allowed the railway company SNCF and the RATP transport company to evaluate camera images using intelligent, algorithm-based technology.

On the occasion of a concert by the Black Eyed Peas group in the La Défense Arena and the football game between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyon, SNCF and RATP are allowed to evaluate the images from over 100 surveillance cameras in four train stations. Signs in the relevant train stations indicate special monitoring.

There should be no facial recognition

The software used to analyze the images from these cameras is intended to attempt to detect intrusions by people into non-public or sensitive areas. It is also intended to draw attention to an unusually high concentration of people and abandoned luggage.

The analysis of the images should be stored for twelve months, according to the police order. Facial recognition via surveillance cameras, which is already practiced in France in certain cases, will not be available during the Summer Games.

The new surveillance technology was first tested in Paris at the beginning of March, at two concerts by the Depeche Mode group.

AI surveillance is still far from achieving its goals

Criticism of the surveillance comes from Amnesty International, among others. The organization had already warned during planning of a “future with surveillance measures on dystopian proportions”.

According to a Senate report presented a week ago, intelligent video technology is still a long way from achieving the goals set. “Advanced video surveillance will not be optimal at the time of the Olympics. However, the Olympics will be a great playground to experiment with it,” said Senator Agnès Canayer. In order to compensate for the foreseeable deficiencies in the technology, more security forces would have to be mobilized for the games, said Canayer.

Highest terror alert level in Paris

Security during the Paris Olympics has become a major point of discussion since France was placed on the highest terror alert level. The security authorities point to years of preparation for the major event and the deployment of tens of thousands of officers and private security forces. Nevertheless, French President Emmanuel Macron admitted a few days ago that the opening ceremony of the games would not take place on the Seine if the security situation worsened.

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There is a plan B and C. In the event of a terrorist threat, the celebration could, for example, only take place on Trocadéro Square or entirely in the stadium, said Macron. The Paris Olympics will take place from July 26th to August 11th.

AI-based video surveillance will be deployed in Paris in the next few days, and will also be used on a limited basis during the Olympics. For the trial phase, which ran from Friday to Monday, the Paris police allowed the railway company SNCF and the RATP transport company to evaluate camera images using intelligent, algorithm-based technology.

On the occasion of a concert by the Black Eyed Peas group in the La Défense Arena and the football game between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyon, SNCF and RATP are allowed to evaluate the images from over 100 surveillance cameras in four train stations. Signs in the relevant train stations indicate special monitoring.

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