France to be First County in EU to Introduce Facial Recognition Software for Government Services #france

Jan Meisels Allen

Facial recognition technology, especially when used by government =
is controversial. France has announced it will be the first European =
country to introduce facial recognition software for government =
Once implemented it will give users access to approximately 500 =
websites.=A0 France says the program will not keep tabs on its =
residents, as
it won=92t be integrating the facial recognition biometric into =
identity databases.

How it works

A new government app, Alicem, =A0is based on facial recognition =
software. One
takes a video of their face on their smart phone and uploads the video =
to a
government server. This server has the information collected >from the
person=92s data >from their biometric passports or electronic residence
permit.=A0 This is in Beta testing now but expected to go live by later =

Not All Agree Its Legal

Some believe this is a violation of the General Data Protection =
which bans facial recognition systems with some exceptions=97such as =
when the
person gives consent for use of the software. Frances=92 data regulator, =
says the GDPR makes free choice mandatory is very concerned over this

Concerns range >from proper lighting, use of makeup and position of the
person in relationship to the camera compared with the photograph used =
against it=97especially if the photograph is an older one.

Martin Drago, a legal expert at La Quadrature du Net, a group that =
digital rights and civil liberties and which is suing the government at
France's highest court of appeals, Conseil d=92Etat.=A0 That decision is
expected in a few months. Bloomberg News reported that a hacker was able =
break into the government app in just over one hour.

There is legislation in the French Parliament to create a framework for
wide-ranging tests of facial recognition technology.
To read more see:

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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