FB pixel

European data protection regulator argues biometric surveillance restrictions not strong enough


biometric identification facial recognition

European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Wojciech Wiewiórowski says the European Commission’s proposed legislation restricting the use of facial recognition and other biometrics in public spaces does not go far enough because it does not completely ban them.

Wiewiórowski said that a ban on biometrics in publicly accessible spaces is necessary, and that he regrets his earlier call for a moratorium on remote biometric systems was addressed by the EC.

The EC’s proposed Artificial Intelligence Act calls for all such biometric technologies to be banned from use for surveillance of public spaces by law enforcement, except in cases of terrorism, missing children, and public security emergencies. It also increases penalties for violations, though 40 members of European Parliament (out of 705) called for the Act to go further and ban the technology outright.

Wiewiórowski expressed satisfaction with the “horizontal approach” of the regulation, and its broad scope, which includes all EU institutions, bodies and agencies.

“I also acknowledge the merits in the risk-based approach underpinning the proposal. Indeed, there are numerous Artificial Intelligence applications that present limited threat for the fundamental rights to data protection and privacy while giving the humanity a potentially powerful tool to fight against today’s problems.”

The EDPS will continue to push for stricter regulation of automated recognition technologies like facial recognition, but also gait, fingerprint, DNA, voice and behavioral biometrics in public spaces, for both private sector and law enforcement applications. Wiewiórowski’s motivation is what the announcement refers to as the “extremely high risk of deep and non-democratic intrusion into individual’s private lives.”

The agency plans to analyze the legislative proposal to support stronger individual and societal protections, and focus on establishing precise boundaries for systems that could pose a risk to fundamental rights.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News


The UK’s election may spell out the future of its national ID cards

Identity cards are back among the UK’s top controversial topics – thanks to the upcoming elections and its focus on…


Challenges in face biometrics addressed with new tech and research amid high stakes

Big biometrics contracts and deals were the theme of several of the stories on that drew the most interest from…


Online age verification debates continue in Canada, EU, India

Introducing age verification to protect children online remains a hot topic across the globe: Canada is debating the Online Harms…


Login.gov adds selfie biometrics for May pilot

America’s single-sign on system for government benefits and services, Login.gov, is getting a face biometrics option for enhanced identity verification…


BIPA one step closer to seeing its first major change since 2008 inception

On Thursday, a bipartisan majority in the Illinois Senate approved the first major change to Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…


Identity verification industry mulls solutions to flood of synthetic IDs

The advent of AI-powered generators such as OnlyFake, which creates realistic-looking photos of fake IDs for only US$15, has stirred…


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read From This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events