Tech this week: France allows drones for police use and Twitter introduces new NFT feature

France’s Constitutional Court on Thursday authorized the use of drones by the country’s police, giving the green light to measures passed by the French parliament in December 2021.

However, the court censured the provision that allowed drones to be used in emergencies without prior authorization from the prefect – the state-appointed regional representative – as it was against the country’s constitution.

The definition of these emergency cases was too broad, and did not allow the use of drones to be reserved “for specific and particularly serious cases”, indicated the court in its decision.

She also objected to municipal police being allowed to use them.

The bill wanted to authorize the police to use drone for “sporting, recreational or cultural events” without the need for there to be a risk of public order disturbances.

These provisions “did not ensure a balanced reconciliation” between the right to respect for a person’s private life and the prevention of breaches of public order, considered the court.

Red Cross data hacked

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is best known for helping victims of war, says hackers broke into servers hosting its data and gained access to personal and confidential information over more than half a -million vulnerable people.

The Geneva-based agency said the breach by unknown intruders this week affected the data of some 515,000 people, “including people separated from their families due to conflict, migration and disaster, missing persons and their families, and persons in custody”.

He said the information came from at least 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent chapters around the world.

“An attack on the data of missing persons makes the anguish and suffering of families even more difficult to bear,” Robert Mardini, director general of the ICRC, said in a statement. declaration.

“We are all appalled and perplexed that this humanitarian information is being targeted and compromised.”

The ICRC said the breach targeted an external contractor in Switzerland who stores data for the aid organization, and there was no indication the information had been shared publicly or leaked.

Agency spokeswoman Crystal Wells said that while the ICRC cannot say for sure the files were stolen, “we think it’s likely. We know they got into our system and had access to our data”.

Wells said the ICRC did not want to speculate on who might be behind the intrusion.

Addressing the person or people behind the hack, Mardini appealed: “The real people, the real families behind the information you have now are some of the least powerful in the world. Please do the right thing. Do not share, sell, disclose or otherwise use this data”.

The ICRC said the breach forced it to shut down systems around its Restoring Family Links program, which aims to reunite family members separated by conflict, disaster or migration.

Ewan Watson, a spokesman for the ICRC, said the organization had never experienced hacking on such a scale before.

Twitter launches hexagon-shaped NFT profile pictures

Twitter this week announced the launch of a new tool that allows users to feature non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as profile pictures, tapping into the digital collectibles craze that has exploded over the last year.

The feature, available on iOS to users of the company’s Twitter Blue subscription service, connects their Twitter accounts to crypto wallets where users store NFT holdings.

Twitter displays NFT profile pictures as hexagons, differentiating them from the standard circles available to other users. Tapping on the images will reveal details about the art and its owner.

Like other tech companies, Twitter is rushing to cash in on crypto trends like NFTs, a type of speculative asset that authenticates digital things like images, videos, and landing in virtual worlds.

Last year, the social media platform added features allowing users to send and receive bitcoins.

NFT sales reached some $25 billion (€22 billion) in 2021, according to data from market tracker DappRadar, although there were signs of slowing growth towards the end of the year. year.

Proponents of “Web3” technologies like NFTs say they decentralize online ownership, creating a way for users to earn money from popular creations, rather than having those benefits accrue primarily to a handful of technology platforms.

Critics dismiss claims of decentralization, noting that many of the services that are fueling adoption of these technologies — like the six crypto wallets supported by Twitter’s NFT product — are backed by a small group of venture capitalists.

In a widely circulated post-launch tweet, security researcher Jane Manchun Wong highlighted one such link, showing how an outage in the OpenSea-backed NFT marketplace temporarily blocked NFTs from loading on Twitter. .

OpenSea did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

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