MEPs support curbing police use of facial recognition, border biometric data trawling drastically

Police should be banned from using blanket facial-recognition surveillance to identify people not suspected of crimes. Certain private databases of people’s faces for identification systems ought to be outlawed, too.

That’s the feeling of the majority of members in the European Parliament this week. In a vote on Wednesday, 377 MEPs backed a resolution restricting law enforcement’s use of facial recognition, 248 voted against, and 62 abstained.

“AI-based identification systems already misidentify minority ethnic groups, LGBTI people, seniors and women at higher rates, which is particularly concerning in the context of law enforcement and the judiciary,” reads a statement from the parliament.

“To ensure that fundamental rights are upheld when using these technologies, algorithms should be transparent, traceable and sufficiently documented, MEPs ask. Where possible, public authorities should use open-source software in order to be more transparent.”

As well as this, most of the representatives believe facial-recognition tech should not be used by the police in automatic mass surveillance of people in public, and monitoring should be restricted to only those thought to have broken the law. Datasets amassed by private companies, such as Clearview AI, for identifying citizens should also be prohibited along with systems that allow cops to predict crime from people’s behavior and backgrounds.


The vote is non-biding, meaning it cannot directly lead to any legislative change. Instead, it was cast to reveal if members might be supportive of upcoming bills like the AI Act, a spokesperson for the EU parliament told The Register.

“The resolution is a non-exhaustive list of AI uses that MEPs within the home affairs field find problematic. They ask for a moratorium on deploying new facial recognition systems for law enforcement, and a ban on the narrower category of private facial recognition databases,” the spokesperson added.

It also called for border control systems to stop using biometric data to track travelers across the EU, too.

Source: MEPs support curbing police use of facial recognition • The Register

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