Activists fear governments and corporations are exploiting loopholes in the EU’s AI bill.
The European Union is confronted with a negative reaction to the new rules of regulation of artificial intelligence to allow limited use of facial recognition technology the authorities. Activists warn that such changes could spark a new era of biometric surveillance.
A coalition of digital rights and consumer groups around the world has called for a global ban on biometric recognition technologies that provide massive and discriminatory surveillance by both governments and corporations.
According to an open letter signed by 170 activists from 55 countries, the use of such facial recognition technologies in public places is contrary to human rights and civil liberties. The letter is partly in response to EU artificial intelligence law, which limits the practice, but does not prohibit it entirely.
The European Commission has sought to find a compromise between ensuring the privacy of citizens and appeasing governments that need these technologies to fight terrorism and crime. The rules nominally prohibit the use of biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition, in public places and by the police (except in cases of “serious crimes”). The EU also did not mention corporations using this technology in public places.
New technologies can provide law enforcement with unprecedented access to citizen activities, and activists want to ensure that there are rules that prevent the authorities from abusing this.
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