Ile-de-France high school students under the eye of the cameras
How far will Valérie Pécresse’s obsession with security go? The Île-de-France region has voted to create a supervision center to which the images from 3,000 video surveillance cameras installed in the 400 or so Ile-de-France high schools would flow. Problem: such a project comes up against serious legal obstacles. Alerted in September 2021 by the Communist, Ecologist and Citizen Left group, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (Cnil) recalls, in a letter that Humanity has been able to consult, the provisions that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) would impose on the processing of such a flow of images. “It is up to the sole controller of the planned processing (for example, the head of the establishment) to take the decision to add video surveillance devices » , exposes the Cnil, insisting on the fact that “the use of cameras must remain limited”. Such a device, she warns, would involve “to ensure with particular vigilance – given the fact that the processing is aimed in particular at minors – to apply the principle of data minimization »and, in this regard, “Only the accesses and circulation areas of the establishment can be filmed”.
The letter further details other rules to be observed in order to “secure data processing” : mandatory request for prefectural authorization to install a camera; carrying out an impact study, in particular for the processing of data that infringes rights and freedoms; referral to the video processing register detailing the uses of the data collected.
The regional right had included in the 2022 budget an envelope of 2 million euros devoted to this XXL video surveillance center. Discussions have even been launched with the police and the gendarmerie, without however involving the heads of establishments, nor the parents of pupils, even less the high school pupils. “We have not been contacted . », regrets Jean Klein, deputy national secretary of the union of heads of establishments of the FSU. « We have not been seized of this project which turns its back on our educational choices based on pedagogy, not on supervision »,also annoys Nageate Belahcen, of the FCPE.
the regional majority maneuvers in retreat
Faced with the legal fragility and political sensitivity of such a project, the regional majority seems to be backtracking. Asked about the subject, the LR vice-president of the regional council in charge of security, Frédéric Péchenard, admits that the work done so far on this file by a « prefiguration mission » does not encourage, for the time being, the pursuit of « this experimentation, whether from a political, legal, financial or even efficiency point of view ». “I am not in favor of the creation of such a center”he decides. “The mission is moving towards a connection project, in connection and at the request of principals and volunteer educational communities, from the video protection of high schools to the CSU (urban supervision center – Ed.) the nearest law enforcement agencies, we say in the entourage of Valérie Pécresse. These studies are in progress and of course the CNIL and all the members of the educational community (heads of establishments, teachers, pupils and parents of pupils) will be associated with this work. »
If caution is in order, it is because the regional executive had already been pinned down in a gracious appeal from the prefect of Île-de-France, who underlined, on January 18, the lack of legal basis for regional funding. regional security brigades called since 2019 to intervene in high schools for missions of « mediation »of « prevention » and of « fight against school violence ». Already in 2021, a report from the regional audit chamber judged that, « in the current state of the law, no text gives the region jurisdiction to intervene in the field of surveillance and security in high schools ». Since their creation, these brigades, each made up of five agents, have seen their number double, going from five to ten – they will soon be twenty. For Valérie Pécresse, the region, “school owner”is« fully competent to ensure its safety ».RM and L.R.