In victory for privacy activists, France is banned from using drones to enforce coronavirus rules
France imposed some of Europe’s toughest measures in response to the virus last year and initially deployed helicopters and drones to monitor adherence to the rules. But privacy activists feared that the drone monitoring could serve as a trial run for more expansive surveillance programs. The concerns prompted a legal challenge and a ruling by France’s highest court in May to suspend the practices in Paris.
Privacy groups said French authorities carried on despite the ruling, continuing to deploy drones at protests.
The decision by France’s privacy watchdog — which significantly ups the stakes for the French government, as it applies nationally — comes amid a broader tug-of-war between privacy activists and authorities in Europe over how to police coronavirus restrictions. That debate has played out worldwide in recent months, as leaders and authorities in a number of countries were accused of using the pandemic as a pretext to expand their powers. But Europe’s extensive privacy laws have put government critics in a stronger position than activists elsewhere.
[Source: Washington Post]