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France Set to Roll Out Nationwide Facial Recognition ID Program

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Bloomberg

France Set to Roll Out Nationwide Facial Recognition ID Program

By Helene Fouquet

France is poised to become the first European country to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a secure digital identity -- whether they want it or not.

Saying it wants to make the state more efficient, President Emmanuel Macron’s government is pushing through plans to roll out an ID program, dubbed Alicem, in November, earlier than an initial Christmas target. The country’s data regulator says the program breaches the European rule of consent and a privacy group is challenging it in France’s highest administrative court. It took a hacker just over an hour to break into a “secure” government messaging app this year, raising concerns about the state’s security standards.

None of that is deterring the French interior ministry.

“The government wants to funnel people to use Alicem and facial recognition,” said Martin Drago, a lawyer member of the privacy group La Quadrature du Net that filed the suit against the state. “We’re heading into mass usage of facial recognition. (There’s) little interest in the importance of consent and choice.” The case, filed in July, won’t suspend Alicem.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-03/french-liberte-tested-by-nationwide-facial-recognition-id-plan