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Serbian data protection authority criticizes alleged facial recognition forensics plan

Serbian data protection authority criticizes alleged facial recognition forensics plan

A Serbian government agency has not yet ruled out deploying facial recognition software that the country’s data protection authority says violates the country’s laws, according to BalkanInsight.

Serbia’s Ministry of Interior reportedly sought to procure Griffeye Analyze DI Pro last year, with the intention of deploying it right away. A purchase, however, has not been made yet.

The same software is also used by Europol, and the Sweden-based biometrics provider’s software is used by the U.S. government for investigations of child exploitation and sexual assault.

Personal Data Protection Commissioner Milan Marinovic, however, says that the ministry is likely continuing to pursue the procurement. “No police in the world would give up on such things because it suits them,” he told the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN).

He does not believe that deploying it would be legal.

“We are talking about a global threat that I do not like. The software can also physically track you,” the commissioner said. “In Serbia, we do not have the right to such a sophisticated type of data processing of citizens.”

The article notes that in 2020 a draft law that would have provided a basis for extensive biometric video surveillance was withdrawn. Griffeye Analyze DI Pro, according to the company website, is an investigative system for “one user,” rather than software for networks of surveillance cameras.

It searches the internet for digital information about subjects, however, according to the report, which quotes a Serbian civil society advocate’s concern about the amount of information it provides.

The lack of a legal basis may not have stopped the deployment of biometric public surveillance in Serbia, as over 8,000 cameras from Huawei are planned for deployment across the capital, Belgrade.

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