Residents of France’s Second Biggest City Resist the Imposition of Cameras

Not all countries or cities think becoing a “surveillance state,” with cameras tracking their residents’ every move. One of the most vocal and active in pushing back is Marseille, France, a rowdy city known for bars, studios, and start-up companies, but also for drugs, crime and poverty, according to a story on MIT’s

Though France’s President Emmanuel Macron has committed to supplying 500 cameras to place around the cities, an activist group called Technopolice is fighting back, citing the move as “overreach” and that the cameras underperform and can lead to misidentification of people committing crimes. privacy protection, the possibility of data breaches, or the risk of bias in a population that has a large African population are all concerns. Facial recognition is known to misidentify black people regularly.

Twenty cameras are already in Jean-Jaurès Square in Marseille, but have produced little in the way of crime prevention.

“In February 2019, La Quadrature du Net and the League of Human Rights successfully fought a plan to roll out facial recognition to monitor entries and exits in two high schools, one in Marseille and another in Nice,” writes. “Technopolicelaunched the same year, with the aim of documenting and resisting the spread across France of ‘safe city’ projects, a bit of (often corporate) branding that is used to describe efforts to use data, AI, and surveillance to reduce crime.”

This summer, the Technopolice plan to set up a series of meetings in the northern towns of Roubaix and Calais; the latter’s council is considering devoting an extra half-million euros to video surveillance. La Quadrature du Net is working on a class-action lawsuit against the government for the use of smart cameras in contravention of European law.