The European Parliament supports the ban on facial recognition technologies in public

The European Union is preparing to ban facial recognition technologies, as well as other surveillance tools based on predictive algorithms, in public.

The European Parliament is preparing preventive measures to discourage mass surveillance practices in EU member states, banning some of the most powerful technologies that could be used to undermine democracy, or to restrict the civil liberties of European citizens. Already widely used in countries such as China, these are facial recognition technologies that could identify a specific person from a crowd of people, or track their movements step by step.

Compared to the US authorities, the European Commission has chosen a tougher approach to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, with a focus on strengthening existing regulations on privacy and access rights to the data collected. The strategy also provides for the imposition of a moratorium of up to five years on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces, leaving more time for the European Commission to implement a concrete strategy to prevent abuse. In support, Google called on European regulators to take a “proportionate approach” to rulemaking.

Once transposed into law, the moratorium will prohibit law enforcement agencies from using biometric surveillance in public spaces. Similar prohibitions also apply to the use of technologies that collect personal data using aspects such as “walking, fingerprints, DNA, voice and other biometric and behavioral signals. “The measure also aims to ban the collection and use of facial recognition databases operated by private companies within EU borders.

In essence, MEPs argue that facial recognition is not ready for primetime and that an appropriate regulatory framework needs to be developed to protect personal privacy before the police are directly affected by these issues.

Unfortunately, the initiative of the EU Parliament is not mandatory, which means that the laws of the member countries will also take precedence over EU directives, favoring the interests and aspirations of local politicians. In the European system, the EU Parliament cannot actually introduce legislation, but only adopt it. The European Commission is in charge of drafting and introducing laws – after which MEPs will vote on their adoption or not.

Source: Go4IT by

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