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Civil rights groups rise up as France approves the use of AI surveillance to monitor crowds during the 2024 Olympic games in Paris.

The French government has decided to allow the use of AI video surveillance during the Olympic Games to be held in Paris next summer. The French National Assembly approved the measure, voted by a margin of 59-17 in favor in the 577-seat chamber.

If formally adopted, France would become the first country in the EU to legalize the use of AI-powered surveillance.

The government justified its decision by saying the AI surveillance would work to help ensure the safety of millions of tourists during the 17-day event.

Algorithmic video surveillance can detect “pre-determined events,” abnormal behavior, and crowd surges, French lawmakers said.

“In front of the whole world, France will need to rise to the meet the greatest security challenge in its history,” said Stephane Mazars, an MP with President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party.

10 million visitors are expected to arrive in Paris during the Games, which run from July 26th to August 11th next year, with the Paralympics following between August 28th and September 8th.

Amnesty International and other digital and civil rights groups, also unhappy with the decision, say the technology poses a threat to civil liberties and freedoms.

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