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Newest leak of EU’s AI Act doesn’t satisfy naysayers on biometric surveillance

Newest leak of EU’s AI Act doesn’t satisfy naysayers on biometric surveillance

Another new draft of the latest European Union’s proposed AI Act has leaked and if the 149-page tome has provisions that shackle biometric surveillance it is not enough for some.

Members of the European Parliament and representatives of privacy-allied non-governmental organizations met November 8 in Parliament, according to multiple sources, to talk about a complete ban on biometric mass surveillance.

The result is that the MEPs present will not approve the AI Act until it carries a ban. It is difficult to know how any vote would go.

There have been dozens if not hundreds of change to past versions, as recently as last month. And an earlier draft, last year, was leaked as well.

According to Patrick Breyer, an MEP and German Pirate Party member, other political groups present at the meeting came from The Left, Socialist, Democratic, Greens/EFA and Renew parties.

Participating NGOs came from 10 of 27 EU member states, according to Breyer, who published at least two posts on his office site reporting on the discontent. Twenty people were there from Reclaim Your Face, a coalition of 76 non-profit organizations that favor a complete ban.

“In the Parliament,” he wrote, “knowing that the Council has a very different stance, we need to be very comprehensive in the ban we propose.”

Mass surveillance for any reason puts too much power in government hands, he said, and pointed to events occurring in the East.

“We need to prevent a China-style dystopian future of biometric mass surveillance in Europe,” Breyer wrote.

Biometric surveillance roles of particular danger, the group felt, included remote biometric recognition for law enforcement and border control. Capabilities they want to eliminate include emotion recognition and gender categorization, polygraphs, behavioral analysis and crowd control.

Matthias Marx, a member of the hacker group Chaos Computer Club, said that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation protections are not enough to shield people from biometric surveillance. He said Clearview AI took his face biometrics during controversial events that took place earlier this year.

A transcript of the comments and a recording of the event are available at this link.

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