Facial recognition should be banned from European public spaces, the independent EU data protection authority said, just days after the bloc’s executive branch proposed a new bill allowing partial use of the technology .
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said on Friday that he welcomed the new legislation governing artificial intelligence, but said that banning the use of remote biometric identification in public is “Necessary.”
“A rigorous approach is needed as remote biometric identification, in which AI (artificial intelligence) can contribute to unprecedented developments, presents extremely high risks of deep and undemocratic intrusion into the privacy of individuals”, he said in a statement.
“The EDPS will focus in particular on defining precise limits for those tools and systems which may present risks to fundamental rights to data protection and privacy.”
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The watchdog said so “Deplores” to see that the European Commission has not responded to its previous calls to outlaw biometric identification systems, including facial recognition, from public spaces.
On Wednesday, the EDPS will analyze the proposals for a law on artificial intelligence presented by the Commission.
The draft rules, which have yet to be agreed upon by Member States and the European Parliament, require AI systems classified as “High risk” be strictly limited before they are implemented.
Some systems would be completely banned, including artificial intelligence that manipulates human behavior – such as children’s toys that encourage dangerous activities – and systems that allow governments to assign social scores to citizens.
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The Commission states that all remote biometric identification systems are considered “High risk,” although there are limited exceptions for their use in the search for missing children or in the prevention of terrorist attacks.
The proposals have drawn criticism from some activists, including European Digital Rights, a collective of non-governmental organizations.
Sarah Chander, a senior artificial intelligence consultant for the group, told the bill “Does not prohibit the full extent of unacceptable uses of AI”, leaving a “Worrying gap for discriminatory and surveillance technologies used by governments and companies.”
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