By Juliette Jabkhiro
PARIS (Reuters) – Organisers of the Paris 2024 Olympics said on Friday their security plans were “on track” after some representatives of the French security industry complained authorities were being too slow in awarding contracts.
Gerard Lacroix from France’s land defence and security industry association – of which IT services and consulting company Atos and defence electronics company Thales are members – told an industry fair in Paris this week that some key contracts still had to be awarded.
“Public orders need to come,” he told reporters at the Milipol homeland security and safety fair, adding French companies had invested 9 million euros ($9.8 million) in efforts to win security tenders for the games.
The Olympics are an opportunity for companies to showcase their technology, as they seek to boost exports in the fast-growing cybersecurity market.
Organisers of the event told Reuters that security plans were “on track”, adding that two tenders for security and technology were over and the only ongoing tender was for private security. They declined to give further details.
France’s interior ministry didn’t reply to Reuters requests for comment.
As a Paris 2024 Olympics partner, Atos – through its Eviden business – will be in charge of cybersecurity services and operations for the games, a spokesperson for the group said.
Thales has also been awarded a contract to handle technologies including video surveillance, and to supply other electronic security equipment, according to the Official Journal of the European Union.
Financial terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Dominique Legrand, head of a French video surveillance lobby, told Reuters a tender for Artificial Intelligence (AI) surveillance had still not been awarded, adding the window was shrinking for tests before the games start in eight months.
Though industry players say the technology will comply with European and French standards, the use of AI-powered video surveillance has provoked strong opposition from rights groups.
In March, French lawmakers backed using the technology at the Olympics, despite warnings from Amnesty International and digital rights groups that it poses a threat to civil liberties.
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(Reporting by Juliette Jabkhiro; Additional reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Mark Potter)