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Facial recognition surveillance worldwide: Mexico steps forward, Israel and EU step back and the US to the side

Facial recognition surveillance worldwide: Mexico steps forward, Israel and EU step back and the US to the side

One of the leads for amending the European Parliament’s Artificial Intelligence Act intends to tighten biometric surveillance in the bloc and Israel’s cyber authority pushes back on facial recognition in surveillance. Meanwhile Mexico creates a biometric surveillance center in Cancún, a popular destination for American tourists, and a report finds that US law enforcement used a surveillance network on the other side of Mexico – based on Chinese technology blacklisted in the U.S. – in an eight-month manhunt.

EU could see limits on biometric tracking

Strengthened provisions on biometric surveillance and a ban on national-level interpretations of AI could be coming to the draft text of the bloc’s Artificial Intelligence Act, according to Brando Benifei, one of the European Parliament’s leads on amending the act, reports the Financial Times backed Sifted site.

Real-time facial recognition in public spaces would be banned, with exceptions such as searches for missing children. Other exemptions make the draft too generic according to Benifei which could lead to backdoors, potentially allowing the sale of European surveillance apparatus to authoritarian regimes.

Concerned about stifling innovation, Benifei says he supports sandboxing for testing new technologies. The Artificial Intelligence Act would be the first of its kind in the world and there have been calls for the UN to follow Europe’s lead.

Israeli Cyber Authority opposes facial recognition cameras

The Israel National Cyber Directorate has expressed opposition to a move by the country’s police to install facial recognition cameras in public places, reports Haaretz.

The Directorate cited concerns over the leakage of personal data which it considers would constitute human rights breaches. It also calls for a reduction in the access that the military and public bodies have to information gathered by such cameras.

Mexico builds facial recognition security center to tackle Caribbean coast crime

A large security command center called C5 is being built in Cancún, Quintana Roo State, to tackle all types of crime. It will link all emergency services as well as the army, national guard and Red Cross and will conduct surveillance with facial recognition.

The center is reported to be one of the most advanced in Latin America and in a few months will begin surveillance of major tourist areas of Playa del Carmen y Tulum. 2,200 cameras are in operation of which 135 have vehicle number plate recognition.

Manhunt in US reveals possibilities of global surveillance system

A report by the New York Times follows the case of a young couple who attended a protest in Minneapolis days after the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. Authorities alleged one of them started fires which led to an international surveillance exercise.

The eight-month manhunt revealed the use of Dahua Technology’s facial recognition technology to find the couple, albeit blacklisted by US authorities, mobile phone tracking across the U.S., car swapping and eventual arrest not based on surveillance.

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