The term video protection should not be confused with video surveillance.
A video protection system is an image capture system that falls within the scope of articles L.223-1 to L.223.0 and L.251-1 to L.255-1 of the Internal Security Code.
Article 18 of Act n°2011-267 of 14 March 2011 on guidance and programming for the performance of internal security, known as Loppsi 2, sets out the conditions for implementing a video protection system. "The transmission and recording of images taken on the public highway by means of video protection may thus be implemented by the public authorities competent to:
Finally, video protection is the application to the public safety sector of remote image capture and exploitation systems (video surveillance). It therefore consists at least of a camera and a monitor allowing the visualization of the images captured by the camera. In practice, a video protection system consists of a set of image capture devices, a recording device and access to the recorded images for live or subsequent viewing of the images, thus allowing the establishment of elements of flagrante delicto and evidence.
Urban Supervision Centres (CSU) are centres authorised by a prefecture to view images taken by public cameras. They therefore only concern the field of video protection.
The mayor is the public actor with the competence to protect local public order. In this capacity, he chairs the local security and crime prevention council, of which the prefect and the public prosecutor are ex officio members. Any municipality may create such a council or decide to participate in an inter-municipal council involving a public institution with expertise in prevention. This council is, where appropriate, the body responsible for drawing up, implementing and evaluating the local security contract. This is concluded according to the priorities adopted between the institutions or bodies involved in the prevention and fight against delinquency. It recalls the diagnosis on which the local council's strategy and objectives are based. To methodically bring together the efforts of all, it includes the most precise and concrete possible description of the actions that have been concerted and planned between those who are mobilizing, while respecting each other's skills, against insecurity and to help the victims. The establishment of an urban video protection system is one of these actions.
From an ethical point of view, video protection does not act on the causes of delinquency, but possibly on its effects, and only makes sense in the context of implementation under the aegis of the Local Security and Crime Prevention Council (CLSPD).
Video protection is not a substitute for local actions that act to strengthen social ties, it has control functions such as:
According to article 252-1 of the Internal Security Code: "The installation of a videoprotection system under this title is subject to authorization by the State representative in the department and, in Paris, by the given police prefect, except in matters of national defence, after consulting the departmental videoprotection commission. Where the system includes cameras installed in the territory of several departments, authorisation shall be issued by the representative of the State in the department in which the applicant's registered office is located and, where that office is located in Paris, by the Prefect of Police, after consulting the departmental video protection commission. State representatives in the departments in which cameras are installed are informed.
Systems installed on public roads or in places open to the public whose records are used in automated processing or contained in files structured according to criteria allowing natural persons to be identified, directly or indirectly, are authorised under the conditions laid down by law n° 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on data processing, files and freedoms. »
In France, it is the Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) which is competent to control all recording devices, whether for the video protection or video surveillance regime.
On public roads, only public authorities (e. g. law enforcement agencies) are authorized to capture images. Individuals or private companies can only film the inside of their homes or premises, at least the external facades for companies.
Concerning video protection, public authorities' cameras must not allow the inside of buildings or dwellings to be seen: digital masking procedures are sometimes put in place to ensure this.
Similarly, only persons authorized under a prefectoral authorization may view images recorded by public cameras, and only as part of their duties (e.g. CSU agents).
Finally, the CNIL only authorizes the storage of images for a period of one month. They may not be extracted from the system and kept longer than in the event that they are useful in the context of verbal or criminal proceedings.
How effective is video protection?
The effectiveness of video protection is a major debate in France and around the world.
However, its action is at least felt in the behaviour of citizens: up to 23% of the interventions allowed by video protection concern parking problems, and 7% of traffic violations. In Paris, the Direction de Prévention de la Sécurité et de la Protection (DPSP) issues remote tickets up to 1,000 times a day.
Secondly, while it is still difficult to prevent a deviant act through video protection, it can be useful for the work of investigators. For example, for the attacks in Nice in 2016 or London in 2018, video protection in these cities made it possible to trace the terrorist's journey.
A first major change is in the quality of the cameras: More and more, the cameras are controllable from the CSU, they can rotate 360° (for PTZ cameras), zoom up to 250m, and shoot in resolutions up to 8K.
However, it is mainly the image processing method that is being disrupted: thanks to analysis software and artificial intelligence (AI), video protection will increasingly allow real-time analysis of images taken by cameras.
When a municipality is looking to equip or expand its video protection system, it must anticipate the safety and technical issues involved.
In 2013, the General Secretariat for Defence and National Security, and the National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI), jointly published Security Recommendations for the implementation of video protection devices.
Risks of vulnerability
The implementation of video protection systems in cities can bring three categories of risks:
Necessary isolation of infrastructure
In order to counter the risks of intrusion into a city's video protection system, it is essential that it be as isolated as possible. Several combined solutions can be implemented:
A question about the video protection ? Need to remove doubts in view of a future project? Send an email to Benjamin Fradelle, Tactis Associate Director.