EU no longer considering facial recognition ban in public spaces

France looks to establish legal framework to deploy biometric video surveillance

According to the latest draft of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence strategy seen by Reuters and EURACTIV, the European Union is no longer interested in introducing a ban on facial recognition in public spaces however there should be ‘clear criteria’ in future mass-scale deployment of biometric identification systems in the EU.

According to EURACTIV the document states: “This assessment will depend on the purpose for which the technology is used and on the safeguards in place to protect individuals. In case biometric data are used for mass surveillance, there must be clear criteria about which individuals should be identified.”

The European Commission had announced earlier this month that it was looking into a five-year facial recognition ban for public space use, as it was investigating how to prevent abuse by different agencies.

The use of facial recognition in law enforcement investigations has raised concerns, as civil liberties and privacy advocates worry the technology could be used for mass and discriminatory surveillance, breaching people’s rights to data privacy.

The draft for the moratorium was part of a larger measure set looking into regulating Artificial Intelligence and its challenges, especially in high-risk sectors, such as healthcare and transport. The proposal is currently in review, and the Commission intends to present it on February 19.

Earlier this month, a U.S. congressional committee discussed introducing AI regulatory guidelines. Last week Microsoft and Google expressed differing opinions on facial biometrics regulations.

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