By a large majority of 226 votes to 117, the Senate has passed a draft bill to test a public use facial recognition pilot. Once passed, the law will allow intelligence authorities and judicial investigators to use remote facial recognition identification for investigative purposes and data collection of convicted offenders.

Despite entertaining restrictions on the use of biometrics in May, contributing to a “surveillance society”, the draft legislation will now allow serious crime authorities to leverage facial recognition technologies for a trial period of 3 years, in relation to major crime suspects and terrorists identified by the intelligence services.

“We wanted to collectively define a framework guaranteeing that we would not fall into a surveillance society, that is to say including red lines, and also define a method, a control regime,” Le Monde explained.

It comes after Senators blocked the government’s interest to use facial recognition systems during the 2024 Olympic Games to be held in Paris, but authorised surveillance around the game premises, on public transportation and on streets from the Spring until June 2025.