Protecting digital identity and supporting industry in Europe priorities for new EC President

Protecting digital identity and supporting industry in Europe priorities for new EC President

Protecting the digital identity of individuals “is the overriding priority” for incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as she sets up new laws for the region that could affect biometrics and other artificial intelligence technologies, NS Tech reports.

In a speech following the approval of the appointment of von der Leyen and her cabinet by European Parliament, she provided some details for the plan to coordinate Europe’s approach to AI with new legislation in her first 100 days in office, saying that the rules will not block the flow of data, but rather will define its responsible handling. She also addressed technological sovereignty for the region.

“We must have mastery and ownership of key technologies in Europe. These include quantum computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and critical chip technologies,” von der Leyen said.

“To do this, to close the gaps that exist now, we must act together. Let us pool our resources, our money, our research capacity, our knowledge. And let us put this into practice.”

The plan reportedly includes introducing limits to the use of facial recognition.

The EU intends to increase regional investment in artificial intelligence by the public and private sector to a combined €20 billion a year, and already has the Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI document from the European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on AI to draw on.

NS Tech reports that Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is likely to oversee the new legislation. Vestager will have new powers in the next session, and will also be the first EU executive vice-president for digital policy, it was announced in September.

The new cabinet takes office on December 1.

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