A French judge has canceled plans to monitor migrants illegally crossing the Channel using police drones. According to the judge, in view of privacy legislation, it is not allowed to film people on the ground without prior permission. Previously, the use of police drones to enforce corona measures and monitor demonstrations was banned in France.
Judge cancels plan to monitor Channel migrants with police drones
Every year thousands of refugees try to cross France and Great Britain by boat from Calais. This is to the great frustration of the British government, which cited control over its own borders as one of the main reasons for Brexit. Partly for this reason, the British government has made millions of euros available to France to combat illegal migration. That money was partly intended to help purchase drones, with which the police could get a better view of migrants who are about to set sail.
But a French judge has now ruled that the privacy of the migrants outweighs the interests of the border police. This means that the police drones must remain grounded. The crux of the matter lies in the ability to make camera images from the air of people on the ground. According to the judge, this goes against the French idea of l’intimité personnelle, or personal privacy.
This is not the first time that the use of police drones for monitoring purposes has been banned in France. The use of drones to enforce the corona measures was previously banned. Later, a ban was issued on the use of drones to monitor public demonstrations. In all cases, according to the judge, there may have been a breach of privacy. The judge followed objections from the French civil rights organization CNIL.
Meanwhile, in Great Britain, drones are being used extensively to track down illegal migrants. For example, the country has started using fixed-wing drones of the Tekever AR5 type. These aircraft fly at a height of hundreds of meters and are equipped with radar and cameras to detect boat refugees. In addition, the British Defense regularly deploys the Watchkeeper, which was also used in Afghanistan.
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