The Council of State, the highest administrative court, had already ordered in December to cease the use of drones to monitor demonstrations and recommended that a legal framework be developed for the use of these devices.
This time, following a control procedure initiated in May 2020, the restricted formation of the Cnil, which cannot pronounce fines against the State, “called the Interior Ministry to order for having carried out drone flights equipped with cameras outside of any legal framework“.
The Commission “therefore asks the Ministry to cease all drone flights until a regulatory framework authorizes such processing of personal data or until a technical system preventing any identification of persons is implemented“.
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In a statement, the ministry “takes note of this decision, the terms of which it will respect“.
He also points out that Article 22 of the text on “global security“, which will be examined by the Senate in March, provides for such a device.
This text provides for authorizing the use of drones during demonstrations “when the circumstances give rise to fear of serious disturbances to public order“and has been the subject of strong criticism from associations for the defense of freedoms.
The ministry more generally uses this type of drones for “verify compliance with containment measures, for monitoring events, for judicial police missions or for monitoring urban rodeos“.
During an inspection, the CNIL found that the people filmed were likely to be identified, which, under the Data Protection Act, must be provided for by a legislative or regulatory text and require an impact study.
“The public was also not informed about the use of drones as they should have been.“, added the commission, and the mechanism of blurring of the faces set up in a second step”does not necessarily prevent the identification of persons as soon as the services of the Ministry of the Interior are able to deactivate (it)“.
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