Face masksHow French Technology Can Control Wearing of a Mandatory Mask

Published 24 July 2020

The French government announced that as of Monday, wearing a face mask in enclosed public places will become mandatory. How would it be possible to check whether thousands of people are following the government’s instructions or not? Several French start-ups have developed solutions which are now being tested. Valentin Hamon-Beugin writes in Le Figaro [in French] that some companies have developed tools which rely on the use of CCTVs. Software is installed in the cameras, and using artificial intelligence, it detects masked faces. “It’s not about facial recognition. We simply recognize the human form behind the mask, but we don’t have access to the identity of the people filmed,”explains Virginie Ducable, project manager at RedLab, a Normandy-based start-up. No image is stored on servers, only statistical data is sent to the client. “These statistics can serve them in a concrete way. For example, if they find that too few people are wearing a mask at any given time, they will be able to automatically launch voice announcements urging them to follow health guidelines,” she adds. Olivier Gualdoni, CEO of Drone Volt, whose subsidiary, Aérialtronics, is working on a similar project, “Our solution aims to prevent, not to punish. We are completely opposite of the repression stereotypes associated with artificial intelligence.”