EU: Bloc’s decision to not ban public mass surveillance in AI Act sets a devastating global precedent

EU: Bloc’s decision to not ban public mass surveillance in AI Act sets a devastating global precedent
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Fecha de publicación: 
9 December 2023
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Responding to the outcome of bloc’s landmark Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act after a tense debate between European Union member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament, Mher Hakobyan, Advocacy Advisor on Artificial Intelligence said: 

“The three European institutions– Commission, Council and the Parliament—in effect greenlighted dystopian digital surveillance in the 27 EU Member States, setting a devastating precedent globally concerning artificial intelligence (AI) regulation. 

Not ensuring a full ban on facial recognition is therefore a hugely missed opportunity to stop and prevent colossal damage to human rights, civic space and rule of law that are already under threat throughout the EU

Mher Hakobyan, Advocacy Advisor on Artificial Intelligence

“It is disappointing to see the European Parliament succumb to member states’ pressure to step back from its original position which offered strong protections including an unconditional ban on live facial recognition. While proponents argue that the draft allows only limited use of facial recognition and subject to safeguards, Amnesty’s research in New York City, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Hyderabad and elsewhere demonstrates that no safeguards can prevent the human rights harms that facial recognition inflicts, which is why an outright ban is needed. Not ensuring a full ban on facial recognition is therefore a hugely missed opportunity to stop and prevent colossal damage to human rights, civic space and rule of law that are already under threat throughout the EU. 

“Lawmakers also failed to ban the export of harmful AI technologies, including for social scoring, which would be illegal in the EU. Allowing European companies to profit off from technologies that the law recognizes impermissibly harm human rights in their home states establishes a dangerous double standard.”  

Background:

Intensive technical meetings are set to follow the provisional high-level political deal before a finalised text can be adopted as law.  

Amnesty International has been calling for a ban on the use, development, production, sale and export of facial recognition technology for identification purposes by both state agencies and private sector actors. We have been part of a coalition of civil society organizations led by the European Digital Rights Network (EDRi), has been calling for EU artificial intelligence regulation that protects and promotes human rights, including rights of people on the move. 

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