Europe is Moving Towards Facial Recognition Ban | No More Biometrics for Police?
(Photo : Image from Unsplash Website) Europe is Moving Towards Facial Recognition Ban | No More Biometrics for Police?

The official European Parliament has just called for EU lawmakers to now start instituting a ban on law enforcement's use of facial recognition technology. This also includes other surveillance tools that are usually used in the course of certain algorithm-driven predictive policing.

MEPs in Favor of the Measure

MEPs have introduced and subsequently voted in favor of a certain measure, officially mentioned on the EuroParl website, that is calling for the permanent ban on the use of certain automated analysis and/or recognition techniques. These are used by police as well as judicial authorities in certain criminal matters in public spaces.

This would include tech that would target data collection coming from gait, DNA, fingerprints, voice, as well as other biometric and behavioral signals. The new measure also suggests the total banning of facial recognition databases that are operated by private companies. Aside from Europe, China is known to heavily use facial recognition in order to monitor its citizens.

Facial Recognition Ban

Bans, when it comes to facial recognition specifically, should remain in place until it was noted that the technology has evolved to be the "right compliant" and that the results turn out to be "unbiased and non-discriminatory" according to the measure. A proper regulatory framework is now also necessary in order to provide the strict safeguards needed against the misuse and strict democratic control and oversight.

While this still sounds really good, the measure is still notably non-binding. This means that it doesn't really signify anything else except a number of politicians reportedly won't mind if this were to happen. Australia is now using the help of facial recognition to fight the pandemic through monitoring during quarantine measures.

Parliament Voting on Artificial Intelligence Act

With this being said, Parliament is now set to vote on the upcoming piece of legislation known as the Artificial Intelligence Act. This is reportedly a gargantuan law that is designed to regulate the use of algorithms as well as artificial intelligence in Europe.

Politico now reports that one of the things that the said bill would do is actually limit the ability of policies to use facial recognition technology in certain public spaces. This is unless it was necessary in order to fight a "serious" crime, just like terrorism.

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Protecting Citizen Privacy

Either way, it could still be a potentially good sign when it comes to privacy rights in Europe, which is something that American legislators could want to think about. In general, Europe has reportedly outpaced the US when it comes to at least trying to be able to introduce meaningful privacy protection when it comes to its citizens, according to the story by Gizmodo.

The passage of the said EU's General Data Protection Regulation or the GDPR in 2016 even instituted a bevy of other new regulations that were designed to protect Europeans from certain undue snooping around. Of course, whether the law is really effective remains yet another conversation altogether.

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Written by Urian B.

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