The European supervisors in charge of the protection of personal data called on the European Union to amend its legislation to totally ban the use of artificial intelligence technologies such as facial recognition to identify people in public places.
They consider it to pose “an extremely high risk” to privacy.
Your opinion is only an opinion without legal value nor is it mandatory but the European Commission will hardly be able to turn a deaf ear.
The ‘European Data Protection Supervisor’ and the ‘European Data Protection Board’ signed a joint statement in which they explain that the use of facial recognition technology in public “would mean the end of anonymity in those public places.”
They added that “applications such as face recognition in director interfere with fundamental rights and freedoms to such an extent that they question the essence of those rights and freedoms ”.
According to European regulators, facial recognition in public places violates individual freedoms. Photo: REUTERS
Discrimination based on ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation
Your statement calls for a “blanket ban” to the use of artificial intelligence for “facial recognition, identification of fingerprints, DNA, voices or any other biometric or behavioral signal and in any context”.
The prohibition they demand would also include that the authorities use artificial intelligence to “categorize individuals based on their ethnicity, gender, sexual oriental or politics.”
The “European Data Protection Supervisor” is the authority responsible for ensuring that the institutions of the European Union comply with the European regulations on Data Protection.
Message to governments
The ‘European Data Protection Board’ is the network of national data protection regulators. The document is officially intended for the European Commission but it will also be read by governments. The Commission published in April its proposal for a regulation to regulate artificial intelligence.
This proposal does not totally prohibit the use of these technologies to identify people in public places.
Thus, the proposal of the European Executive yes includes exceptions that would allow facial recognition to be used in some situations, like in the search for missing children, in terrorist threats or to locate people who are suspected of having committed a crime.
Facial recognition techniques are already used in some places and generate controversy. Photo: The New York Times
The two data protection organizations also ensure in their statement that “displaying remote biometric identification in spaces accessible to the public means the end of anonymity in those spaces.”
And he remarks that “a general ban on the use of facial recognition in public areas is the starting point if we want to preserve our freedoms and create a legal framework for artificial intelligence that is based on respect for the human being.”
The European Commission has already reacted to the request for a general ban on the use of these technologies in public.
He said that he “takes note” of the opinion of data protection supervisors but that his proposal “offers sufficient protection and limits the use of these systems to the minimum strictly necessary.”
The Commission’s proposal is pending. Right now representatives of the European Parliament and governments are negotiating its scope. Brussels understands that it needs this legislation – more or less strict – to allow the development of these technologies and not be left behind in the race led by China and the United States.