By ordering the immediate suspension of surveillance drone flights until the publication of a ministerial decree, the Council of State takes the direction of the associations.
Turnaround: at the beginning of May, two associations for the defense of freedoms, La Quadrature du Net and the League of Human Rights, complained the Prefecture of the Police in Paris, pointing to the illegal use of drones to enforce containment measures.
First, the judge dismissed the appeal of the associations, which then decided to appeal to the Council of State: a hearing was therefore held on Monday, 18 May, and the first decision of the administrative tribunal was correct.
Therefore, until further notice, the drones used in France by the police are nailed to the ground.
“The Council of State’s order is a historic victory against drone surveillance following our appeal,” La Quadrature du Net exclaims in a dedicated blog post.
Therefore, this decision makes any flight of a drone equipped with a camera and flying sufficiently low illegal to allow the police to identify people.
The Council of State considers that, contrary to the rules of data protection and individual freedoms, these drones present risks of use.
‘Following the reasons for this Ordinance, the State is ordered to immediately cease the implementation in Paris of drone compliance surveillance measures with the health security rules applicable to the period of decontainment’, concludes the Council of State’s order.
A decree or a solution to technology
“Some recommendations are also made by the high institution: drones could take off again on condition that a ministerial decree, adopted after consultation with the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL), regulates their use, or that such devices provide “technical devices such as making it impossible to identify the people filmed, regardless of the uses used.
Consequently, the Ministry of the Interior, which is due to acquire 650 new drones soon, will have to opt for one or the other of these solutions.
La Quadrature du Net, for its part, intends to continue its work, already mentioning some other surveillance tools it considers hazardous: automated video surveillance, sound sensors, predictive police…