EU data regulators call for a ban on facial recognition in public spaces


European Union data protection regulators have call for a general ban on the use of artificial intelligence for facial recognition and other “biometric and behavioral signals” in public spaces. In their joint opinion, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) also stated that the use of AI for social rating should be banned.

EDPS and EDPS urged bloc to ban AI from “recognizing faces, gait, fingerprints, DNA, voice, keystrokes and other biometric or behavioral signals , in any context “in areas accessible to the public. They said it should be illegal for AI systems to use biometrics to classify people “into groups based on ethnicity, gender, political or sexual orientation,” or other types of classification under which they could be discriminated against.

In addition to this, the EDPS and EDPS argued that there should be a ban on using AI to “infer the emotions of a natural person”. It would be allowed in specific situations, such as for certain medical reasons.

Regulators were responding to an AI regulatory framework proposed by the European Commission (the executive branch of the EU). The document suggests a ban on various implementations of AI, including social scoring and “the use of ‘real-time’ remote biometric identification systems in publicly accessible spaces for enforcement purposes. law”. There would be some exceptions, including helping authorities locate missing children and preventing a “specific, substantial and imminent threat”, such as a terrorist attack.

Members of the EDPS include data protection oversight bodies from each EU member country, while the EDPS ensures that EU institutions and bodies respect individuals’ data protection rights and privacy when processing personal data. The EC proposal designates the EDPS as “the competent authority and the market surveillance authority” for the supervision of EU agencies.

However, the EDPS and the EDPS requested more clarification on the role and duties of the latter in the framework. They also expressed concern that the scope of the proposal excludes “international law enforcement cooperation”.

“The deployment of remote biometric identification in publicly accessible spaces means the end of anonymity in these places,” said EDPB President Andrea Jelinek and European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski in a statement. “A blanket ban on the use of facial recognition in publicly accessible areas is the necessary starting point if we are to preserve our freedoms and create a human-centered legal framework for AI. The proposed regulation should also ban any kind of use of AI for social rating, as it goes against core EU values ​​and can lead to discrimination. “

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