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AI Act exemptions, cut-outs and broad mandates top issues late in bill’s negotiations

AI Act exemptions, cut-outs and broad mandates top issues late in bill’s negotiations

As the fifth round of trilogue negotiations on the European Union’s proposed AI Act began this week in the EU Council, moving the massive legislation closer to finalization, the algorithm community is rushing in with make-or-break demands.

For instance, MEP Dragoș Tudorache, Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee rapporteur, has outlined three “major blocks” to negotiations.

One of them is the number of exemptions that the EU Council is advocating for law enforcement. This matter is intrinsically tied to facial recognition, a tool few police or intelligence give up easily.

Tudorache, speaking to Euronews, says “we in Parliament” want more stringent guidelines than does the Council.

He says Council members want exemptions tied to national security, but “we want a hard ban on (its) use in public places.” Council members in negotiations also are taking a softer approach to a number of venues including local policing and some high-risk uses.

Understandably, big-business trade association DigitalEurope would probably feel better served in the Council than in the Parliament.

In a long and detailed position paper on the state of talks, DigitalEurope is concerned about what it fears could become part of the act – “broad prohibition on biometric categorization and identification” being discussed in the Parliament.

The association claims that would “inadvertently outlaw beneficial and legally mandated” uses. That would include investigating child sexual abuse and deepfakes.

Members of the group want “a more nuanced delineation of the ban’s scope.” Responsible operation of biometric recognition systems can balance an individual’s civil rights while also improving public safety.

And talk of a ban on emotion recognition is foolhardy, according to the organization. Where some see a disturbing attempt at mind reading, DigitalEurope sees effective monitoring for drowsy pilots, drivers and train operators among other safety related tasks.

Another industry association, the European wing of the Computer & Communications Industry Association has added its voice. It did so, however addressing AI as a category.

More specifically, the CCIA is very worried about regulations that are asymmetrical. They do not want regulation cut-outs for smaller businesses when it comes to AI, which would include biometric recognition.

Small implementations of AI algorithm can be just as dangerous as that deployed by a multinational.

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