Flight of a drone, in Germany (photo illustration) -
CHRISTOPHE GATEAU / DPA / AFP
Will drones equipped with thermal cameras be used by the police to monitor us during the holiday season?
This is in any case what suggests a viral publication on Facebook, viewed more than 60,000 times in the last twenty-four hours.
In fact, this information was given by the Belgian television channel RTL Info, and will only concern the Flemish province of Limburg, and not France as some people understand.
Local police will have drones equipped with a thermal camera at their disposal to limit large gatherings and fireworks, which have been banned, between Christmas and New Years.
She ensures that these drones are not intended to monitor the inhabitants in their privacy.
Big Brother came
to your table for Christmas and New Year's Eve?
According to a post seen more than 60,000 times in the last twenty-four hours on Facebook, the police are preparing to deploy drones to monitor compliance with health rules during the holiday season.
Drones to monitor compliance with health rules during the end of the year celebrations?
- Tom Hollmann
The post shows a JT tray with a banner at the bottom of the screen: "Coronavirus: Police will use drones to watch over the holiday season."
In the photo, a comment was added, indicating that these drones would have "thermal" vision so that they could exercise direct surveillance in homes and apartments.
If the photograph has aroused the indignation of Internet users, the revelers have no reason to worry in France.
If our countries have borders, the Internet does not.
The photograph posted in this viral publication on Facebook indeed comes from a television news… but from a Belgian edition, and not French.
On December 10, the RTL Info channel broadcast this topic on police surveillance and compliance with health measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 during the holiday season.
In this report, it is explained that police in the province of Limburg in eastern Flanders will be able to use drones equipped with thermal cameras to ensure that there are no large gatherings on its territory between Christmas and New Year.
A safe drift?
Still, for many Internet users, the practice is cause for concern.
By flying over homes with their thermal cameras, will the police not be able to observe their fellow citizens directly at home?
"In practice, of course, when we fly over a neighborhood, we will fly over homes, streets, parks," said the Police Information Control Body to RTL Info.
The police, however, want to be reassuring: "The images that we receive, whether thermal or normal, help teams to check whether the" corona "measures are respected, in particular for prohibited fireworks.
Our goal is certainly not to go to private gardens.
We don't use drones for that.
Despite all the goodwill of the Limburg police, this measure is an "open door to all abuses because we see that there are more and more possibilities of interference in the home and private homes" , believes Cédric Bernes, lawyer at the Namur bar, at the microphone of RTL Info.
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Alsace: No firecrackers or fireworks on New Year's Eve this year (in Germany either)