The European Parliament has voted in favor of a law that effectively bans ban on biometric surveillance technologies that operate on artificial intelligence, such as face recognition systems.
A big "no" to mass surveillance
MEPs (members of the European Parliament) are concerned about the discrimination, prejudice and injustice resulting from artificial intelligence-based preventive policing, and their concerns are based on many real-life examples. For the record, 377 MEPs voted in favor, 248 against and 62 abstentions.
Providers of AI-based facial recognition solutions have acknowledged that algorithm bias has plagued their systems for years and have made efforts to solve the problem through different datasets and machine learning optimizations. However, discrimination rates are still too high to be acceptable in any important development context.
In today's decision, the European Parliament calls for a permanent ban on the automatic identification of persons in public places and a ban on the provision of policing based on conduct data.
The only exception to the ban are cases of suspected criminals, but even then, the use of face recognition databases should be excluded from the tools available to justify or prove this person guilty. The Clearview ai specifically mentioned as an example of what to avoid.
Finally, MEPs are calling for higher levels of transparency, such as the use of open source for tracking algorithms, allowing public scrutiny of all aspects of these systems.
Petar Vitanov, the lead MEP on the issue, said:
Fundamental rights must be given. For the first time, we are calling for a temporary suspension of a law, as technology has proven ineffective and often leads to discrimination.
We are clearly opposed to preventive policing based on the use of artificial intelligence as well as any processing of biometric data that leads to mass surveillance. This is a huge victory for all European citizens.
Although this is an important development and a powerful step towards the protection of human rights in Europe, the case with the development of artificial intelligence is not closed.
The "Artificial Intelligence Act" is still being negotiated and being drafted, so the European Parliament's decision is merely a catalyst at the moment. MEPs are sending a message about what will be acceptable and where they would like more guarantees to be introduced.
Source of information: bleepingcomputer.com