“This Is A Major Risk”: France Rolls Out New Facial Recognition Technology

ER Editor: We’re publishing the Bloomberg piece on this, mediated and commented on both by Technocracy News and Zerohedge. We also recommend an additional, short piece by Zerohedge titled What’s The Big Problem With Facial Recognition? Of note:

Berkeley, California, City Councilmember Kate Harrison is pushing for a facial recognition ban in her city. In her recommendation of the ordinance, she pointed out the inherent constitutional problem with facial recognition.

It eliminates the human and judicial element behind the existing warrant system by which governments must prove that planned surveillance is both constitutional and sufficiently narrow to protect targets’ and bystanders’ fundamental rights to privacy while also simultaneously providing the government with the ability to exercise its duties.

Facial recognition technology automates the search, seizure and analysis process that was heretofore pursued on a narrow basis through stringent constitutionally-established and human-centered oversight in the judiciary branch. Due to the inherent dragnet nature of facial recognition technology, governments cannot reasonably support by oath or affirmation the particular persons or things to be seized. The programmatic automation of surveillance fundamentally undermines the community’s liberty.

Facial recognition puts every person who crosses its path into a perpetual lineup without any probable cause. It tramples restrictions on government power intended to protect our right to privacy. It feeds into the broader federal surveillance state. And at its core, it does indeed fundamentally undermine liberty.

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France Launches Nationwide Facial Recognition ID Program

TECHNOCRACY NEWS

With France leading the way, Technocracy in Europe is now set to follow in China’s dystopian footsteps by implementing a society-wide facial recognition surveillance system.  ⁃ TN Editor

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France Set to Roll Out Nationwide Facial Recognition ID Program

Helen Fouquet

France is poised to become the first European country to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a secure digital identity — whether they want it or not.

Saying it wants to make the state more efficient, President Emmanuel Macron’s government is pushing through plans to roll out an ID program, dubbed Alicem, in November, earlier than an initial Christmas target. The country’s data regulator says the program breaches the European rule of consent, and a privacy group is challenging it in France’s highest administrative court. It took a hacker just over an hour to break into a “secure” government messaging app this year, raising concerns about the state’s security standards.

None of that is deterring the French interior ministry.

“The government wants to funnel people to use Alicem and facial recognition,” said Martin Drago, a lawyer member of the privacy group La Quadrature du Net that filed the suit against the state. “We’re heading into mass usage of facial recognition. (There’s) little interest in the importance of consent and choice.” The case, filed in July, won’t suspend Alicem.

Digital Identities

With the move, France will join states around the world rushing to create “digital identities” to give citizens secure access to everything from their taxes and banks to social security and utility bills. Singapore uses facial recognition and has signed an accord to help the U.K. prepare its own ID system. India uses iris scans.

France says the ID system won’t be used to keep tabs on residents. Unlike in China and Singapore, the country won’t be integrating the facial recognition biometric into citizens’ identity databases. In fact, the interior ministry, which developed the Alicem app, says the facial recognition data collected will be deleted when the enrollment process is over. That hasn’t stopped people from worrying about its potential misuse.

“Rushing into facial recognition at this point is a major risk” because of uncertainties on its final use, said Didier Baichere, a governing-party lawmaker who sits on the Parliament’s “future technologies” commission and is the author of a July report on the subject. Allowing mass-usage before putting in place proper checks and balances is “ludicrous,” he said.

The Android-only app with the blazon of the French republic, which Bloomberg was able to consult, will be the only way for residents to create a legal digital ID, and facial recognition will be its sole enabler. An ID will be created through a one-time enrollment that works by comparing a user’s photo in their biometric passport to a selfie video taken on the app that will capture expressions, movements and angles. The phone and the passport will communicate through their embedded chips.

Opponents say the app potentially violates Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which makes free choice mandatory. Emilie Seruga-Cau, who heads the law enforcement unit at the CNIL, the country’s independent privacy regulator, said it has made its concerns “very clear.”

Security is another worry. Authorities say the security of Alicem is at the “highest, state level.” Yet in April, Robert Baptiste, a hacker who goes by Elliot Alderson on Twitter, was able to access one of the government’s “highly secure” apps within 75 minutes, raising questions about the resilience of the state’s online security.

‘Bug Bounty’

“The government shouldn’t boast that its system is secure, but accept to be challenged,” Baptiste said “They could open a bug bounty before starting, because it would be serious if flaws were discovered after people start using it, or worse if the app gets hacked during enrollment, when the facial recognition data is collected.”

Opposition lawmakers worry about the integration of facial recognition into laws to track violent protesters like during Yellow Vests demonstrations. Drago, who’s challenging government plans on privacy and consent issues, said the absence of a debate “lets the state move ahead, without roadblocks.”

Meanwhile, facial recognition tests are multiplying. Live camera surveillance in the streets of Wales was judged legal this month by a London court. Germany, The Netherlands and Italy use it for fast tracking borders checks. In August, Sweden’s Data Protection Authority fined the municipality of Skelleftea for testing facial recognition on high school students to measure attendance. Apple Inc. trivialized its use as a biometric to unlock mobile phones.

Read full story here…

Original article

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“This Is A Major Risk”: France Rolls Out New Facial Recognition Technology

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden  TYLER DURDEN

Is this how French President Emmanuel Macron is choosing to celebrate 70 years of Communist rule?

In a plan that sounds eerily similar to China’s ‘social credit score’ system, Macron and the French Interior Ministry are pushing ahead plans to launch a national facial-recognition program, arguing that it “will make the state more efficient.”

According to Bloomberg, the ID program, known as “Alicem”, is set to be rolled out in November, after the launch was moved forward from an end-of-year timeline.

Despite objections from the rest of the European community, Macron appears dead-set on adopting the new system, ensuring that all French citizens will be incorporated into the project, whether they support it or not.

Even within the French government, there’s opposition to the new plan. France’s data regulator argued that the program breaches the European rule of consent, and a French privacy group is challenging the plan in France’s highest administrative court.

There’s also the question of security: It took a hacker just over an hour to break into a “secure” government messaging app earlier this year. Should a hacker break into this database, the repercussions would be much more serious.

But the government simply won’t be swayed…which isn’t all that surprising. Macron has shown strong Statist tendencies since shortly after he was sworn in.

“The government wants to funnel people to use Alicem and facial recognition,” said Martin Drago, a lawyer member of the privacy group La Quadrature du Net that filed the lawsuit against the state. “We’re heading into mass usage of facial recognition. (There’s) little interest in the importance of consent and choice.” The case, filed in July, won’t suspend Alicem.

However, the group makes a good point: the era of mass facial-recognition has unfortunately arrived in Western Europe – and sooner than many had expected. Soon, the French won’t just be monitored, they will be actively tracked by an advanced software that will record all of their movements.

Unlike in China and Singapore, the French won’t use their facial recognition system for surveillance, the French government said in a statement.

France says the ID system won’t be used to keep tabs on residents. Unlike in China and Singapore, the country won’t be integrating the facial recognition biometric into citizens’ identity databases. In fact, the interior ministry, which developed the Alicem app, says the facial recognition data collected will be deleted when the enrollment process is over. That hasn’t stopped people from worrying about its potential misuse.

“Rushing into facial recognition at this point is a major risk” because of uncertainties on its final use, said Didier Baichere, a governing-party lawmaker who sits on the Parliament’s “future technologies” commission and is the author of a July report on the subject. Allowing mass-usage before putting in place proper checks and balances is “ludicrous,” he said.

Users can choose to ‘engage’ with the new system by downloading an Android-only app that will upload their ‘biometric passport’.

An ID will be created through a one-time enrollment that works by comparing a user’s photo in their biometric passport to a selfie video taken on the app that will capture expressions, movements and angles. The phone and the passport will communicate through their embedded chips.

Opponents of the system say users must choose to participate, or the system will be in violation of Europe’s new data privacy regulations, the GDPR.

Opponents say the app potentially violates Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which makes free choice mandatory. Emilie Seruga-Cau, who heads the law enforcement unit at the CNIL, the country’s independent privacy regulator, said it has made its concerns “very clear.”

Soon, France won’t be the only European county looking into this technology. The UK – the home of ‘Big Brother’ – has reportedly contracted with Singapore to learn more about facial recognition technology and discuss implementing it. Singapore has always been considered a relatively benign and uncorrupt one-party state. And the fact that the UK is taking security tips from Singapore isn’t exactly reassuring.

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Original article

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