French high court rules against biometric facial recognition use in high schools
A lawsuit seeking to block biometric facial recognition technology pilots in two high schools in French cities of Nice and Marseille, filed by French advocacy group for digital rights and freedoms La Quadrature du Net, has succeeded.
In October 2019, French regulator CNIL said facial recognition gates in schools were illegal, but the South Region ignored the warning and attempted to roll out the project by labeling it “experimental” in December.
The case was reviewed in February by the Administrative Court of Marseille, who dismissed the initiative, arguing that only schools, and not regional authorities, can make such decisions about implementing technology systems on their grounds. The Administrative Court of Marseille further concluded the system was in violation of privacy regulation GDPR because students could not give free consent as the school’s administration is acting as higher authority.
This is the first court decision in France related to the use of facial recognition technology, according to the announcement. The civil rights group claims it will move forward with requests to completely ban the technology. In December, the group together with 124 organizations signed a joint letter asking for a ban on facial recognition use in security and surveillance.
In the first week of March, the Administrative Court of Marseille will review the group’s second complaint against smart video surveillance systems.
In January, French officials announced they were looking into a legal framework to deploy public video surveillance with facial recognition technology.