A drone monitors compliance with safety distances on the beach in Spain (illustrative image).



As the controversial “Global Security” bill arrives in the Senate, the CNIL asks Parliament to improve its copy on the use of drones by the police.

The French gendarme of personal data believes that the legislative framework does not sufficiently protect the rights of individuals.

"The normative framework as envisaged" in the proposed law "and the evolutions which result from it still do not allow (...) to lead to a sufficiently protective legal framework of the rights of the people", according to the Cnil, which made this Wednesday at the Senate Law Committee an opinion on the text voted by the National Assembly on November 24.

A system for "serious" offenses

The National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL) considers in particular "essential to further limit the purposes for which these devices (drones) can be used".

The use of drones must be "reserved for the fight against offenses of a high degree of seriousness".

The legislation should require that there is a risk of "serious disturbances to public order" before drones are used for operations to maintain or restore order, believes the CNIL.

The “Global Security” bill sparked a political crisis at the end of November over its very controversial article 24 on the dissemination of images of police and gendarmes.

It also includes an important section establishing the legislative framework for the use of drones by law enforcement agencies - a framework that does not yet exist.

Flights stopped "without delay"

Faced with this legislative vacuum, the Council of State ordered the Interior Ministry in December to stop drone flights to monitor demonstrations.

Shortly afterwards, the CNIL went further by urging the Interior Ministry to put an end "without delay" to any flight of drones equipped with cameras of any kind, until legislation was established.

On Wednesday, the Minister of the Interior took note of the opinion of the CNIL, conceding that the proposed law “Comprehensive security” could be specified on certain points, but calling for a “balance”.

"There may be two or three adaptations to be made, but we must keep a balance because drones represent a major interest for the safety of citizens," a representative of the ministry told AFP.

Beware of "technological solutionism"

Drones are already used by the police "in several European countries", he stressed.

In its opinion, the CNIL suggests that their use by law enforcement agencies in France should be subject to “prior experimentation”.

"Such transitional arrangements, giving rise to a rigorous and independent assessment, would make it possible to guard against the temptation of 'technological solutionism', this tendency to transform human, social or even societal problems into questions whose resolution essentially involves technical devices, while these can have specific effects that potentially infringe on public freedoms, ”she writes.

Drones “are by nature discrete devices” which allow “individualized” image capture and offer the possibility of following people “in their movements, without their knowledge and over a period that can be long”, he emphasizes. it.


“Comprehensive security” law: What exactly does the text voted on at first reading in the Assembly contain?


Law on "Global Security": Why the debates on the regulation of drones promise to be tense in the Assembly

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