The European Parliament has approved a ban on biometric surveillance

The European Parliament has approved a ban on biometric surveillance

For the first time, Parliament officially takes a stand against facial recognition systems, asking the Commission for a permanent ban on the use of these technologies in public places

Facial recognition at Omron Corp's stand at Ces di Las Vegas 2020 (photo: Bridget Bennett / Bloomberg via Getty Images) In a historic vote, the European Parliament has for the first time taken an official position against the use of facial recognition systems in public spaces, in order to protect compliance privacy, human dignity and avoiding discriminatory practices. MEPs passed a resolution to ask the European Commission to institute a permanent ban on biometric video surveillance in public and on the use of private databases, such as the Clearview Ai system, whose illegal practices have been condemned by the Canadian Privacy Guarantor and revealed. from an investigation by Wired.

In a resolution adopted with 377 votes in favor, 248 against and 62 abstentions, the deputies underlined how identification systems based on artificial intelligence involve strong discrimination against groups ethnic minorities, people of the lgbtq + community, the elderly and women.

Therefore, the approved text calls on the Commission to implement, by any means necessary, "the prohibition of any processing of biometric data, including images facials, used by the police, which could lead to mass surveillance in public spaces ”. The resolution also calls for an end to any direct funding for "research and development of biometric technologies or programs that may lead to the indiscriminate mass surveillance of public spaces".

In addition, the deputies have expressed themselves in favor of the prohibition of any predictive surveillance system, based on the behavior of people, and on social scoring systems that attempt to assess the reliability of citizens on the basis of their behavior or personality. Finally, the Parliament asked to stop the use of biometric systems to remotely identify people, such as border control gates that use automatic facial recognition systems and the iBorderCtrl program, a kind of "lie detector" that claims to be able to detect an individual's emotions.

A movement against

With this resolution, Parliament has set a milestone on regulating new video surveillance systems, seeking to averting a dystopian future a la Black Mirror. However, a group of representatives of right-wing parties have tried to undermine this resolution, proposing to remove the ban on the use of biometric systems in public spaces from the text in question. Fortunately, their amendment was rejected, also thanks to an open letter signed by 25 MEPs from various political groups in which they asked their colleagues to reject the changes proposed by right-wingers.

Now, the Parliament European Union must continue to fight to ensure that this ban is implemented in the European Commission's artificial intelligence law, the Ai Act. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, the majority of European citizens are against the use of facial recognition systems in public and both the European Data Protection Board and the European Privacy Supervisor have already asked the Commission for a "general ban of any use of artificial intelligence for the automatic recognition of human characteristics in public spaces "due to its" consequent negative effect on the exercise of freedom of expression, assembly, association and movement ".

Finally, also the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has spoken out against the use of these technologies, for "lack of compliance with privacy and data protection standards, for significant problems of accuracy and discriminatory impacts". It is now up to the Commission to implement these indications and produce a law that reflects the wishes of European citizens, in order to protect their freedom and protect them from discrimination.

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Cybersecurity Europe Gdpr Artificial intelligence Italy Legal Privacy Surveillance globalData.fldTopic = "Cybersecurity , Europe, Gdpr, Artificial intelligence, Italy, Legal, Privacy, Surveillance "

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