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Should the EU ban software that can pick faces from a crowd?


A growing political coalition thinks so – and it just got heavyweight support from the third-largest group in the EU parliament, where a majority now favors banning facial recognition technology that indiscriminately scans crowds. And scans in real time.

Reneau’s support, which joins the Greens and the Socialists and Democrats groups in backing the ban, shows how a growing part of Europe’s political leadership favors restrictions on artificial intelligence that are more technologically advanced than the rest of the world. But far ahead of anything in developed regions. Last week, including in the U.S., OlxPraca obtained a document detailing a new civil liability law for AI applications — a major step toward a legal regime for autonomous programs and devices.


“We are going to ban what we believe is not in line with our values, our deployment. [of biometric identification] In public spaces where we are as Europeans, we believe we need to be free from the dangers of mass surveillance,” said Renew’s Dragoș Tudorache. “The current position in this house is to support a ban on this technology. “

Opponents of live facial recognition tech say such tools are favored by authoritarian regimes in such places. Russia And China Targeting dissidents or vulnerable minorities, and ultimately dangerous to civil liberties. They also point to the dangers of racial profiling and invasion of privacy, leading to Large companies Including IBM, Amazon and Microsoft to suspend sales of facial recognition tools to governments.


Yet even as the EU moves towards approving the world’s first rulebook for AI, the enthusiasm of EU lawmakers and some regulators to ban live facial recognition is likely to be met by interested parties. There will be strong opposition from another group. Facial recognition technology in their security arsenal.

Interior ministers are working hard to ensure that the EU’s AI law, the Artificial Intelligence ActTheir hands are not tied. And while the European Commission is banning the use of facial recognition in public places for companies, it has allowed law enforcement agencies to use it, including finding missing children, preventing terror*st att*cks or tracking armed and dangerous criminals. Cases have left wide leeway for tech deployment.


Change mood

For Renew, also known as Liberal, support for the ban has slowly grown after some initial skepticism. But now they are lining up with left-wing lawmakers calling for a ban on live facial recognition.

“The mood has changed … in my group, there is a majority that supports the idea of ​​a ban,” said Todorache, who was previously Romania’s interior minister.

Now Parliament’s lead negotiator on a new artificial intelligence law, he It does not want exemptions for police to use the technology in certain cases, as it would make it “extremely difficult to control and account for”.

European governments and companies are ramping up their experiments with facial recognition. Biometrics algorithms that aim to match faces against databases in real time can use existing networks of public cameras.

A growing consensus in the European Parliament has isolated centre-right lawmakers in the European People’s Party who are pushing ahead. To open up more possibilities for facial recognition for the police Genevieve Angel/European Union

This worries the European data protection watchdog EDPB, which last year called for Banning facial recognition of all individuals in public places violates fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of movement.

And more than 50 European campaign groups are trying to persuade lawmakers to ban it.

“If it’s allowed to be used even for extraordinary purposes, that means the infrastructure will be there and you as a citizen will never know if it’s on,” said Daniel Leuffer, NG. said the O Access Now campaigner. “This technology has no place in a society committed to democracy and fundamental rights.”

Liberal lawmakers are closer to the middle ground than their left-wing colleagues, the Socialists and Democrats and Greens, who want to go even further and outlaw the creation of biometric databases that collect facial recognition and images from social media. Want to declare.

The growing consensus in the European Parliament has alienated centre-right lawmakers in the European People’s Party who are pushing in the opposite direction to open up more possibilities for police to use facial recognition.

Convincing EU countries

The real challenge The ban on facial recognition comes from EU governments sitting in the Council of the European Union, where some countries such as France fear that outlawing the technology could seriously harm public security. With fresh memories of terror*st att*cks in recent years and plans to host the Olympics next year, Paris wants to have all the tools possible.

French judges have backed the Supreme Administrative Court, saying it would be wrong to ban technology that could help identify a terror*st in a large crowd.

Although Germany has pushed for stricter restrictions on the technology, in general, EU governments are working to ensure that the new AI law will not severely restrict the activities of law enforcement agencies.

European capitals are pushing for more leeway to enforce the law, according to the latest draft of changes to the law drafted by EU countries and seen by OlxPraca. In addition to tracking kidnap victims and crime suspects, he would like to see police use real-time facial recognition to prevent any “substantial threat” to infrastructure. European governments could reach their final position before the end of the year, according to two EU diplomats.

For now, left-wing and liberal lawmakers are focused on maintaining their momentum to ban facial recognition until the European Parliament formally secures its position in a vote by the end of the year.

German liberal Svenja Hahn stressed that tense negotiations on such a sensitive topic are still ongoing.

“This will be one of the most intense battlefields,” he said. “Law enforcement hopes that facial recognition is a magic wand to fight crime but it’s not, the risk of discrimination is too high.”

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