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BY THE DUTCH DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY: Privacy Regulators Ask To Prohibit The Facial Recognition

BY THE DUTCH DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY: privacy regulators ask to prohibit the facial recognition

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The facial recognition and other real-time biometrics in public spaces shall be prohibit. This is affirmed by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) in a response to a legislative proposal of the European Commission on the Artificial Intelligence (IA). The EDPB wants also a ban on the IA systems which classify people based on, for example, the ethnic, sex or sexual preferences.

The EDPB is made by privacy supervisors of all the European Countries. Joined with the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) they have reacted to the law draft.

The facial recognition has big risk

The EDPB and the EDPS believe that facial recognitions risks are too big for permitting this technique in public spaces. This is true also for comparable techniques, like the voice recognition and movement.

The current text of the legislation permits government to use this type of techniques, for example, to prevent and fight against the crime.

Video surveillance society

A video camera with the facial recognition does not see only what you are doing, but it identifies you immediately. It can see who you are.

Each video camera with the facial recognition that the put on the street, in parks, on the train or on the buses is a step towards a video surveillance society. A society in which we can not move on the street without restrictions. In which you can not escape from systems that keep an eye on you, which recognize you and follow you all over the day. You walk out of the door and you understand that you are constantly observed. It is oppressive, it makes people less free to be their selves.

The manager of these system can follow me automatically: it can see when I go out, where I do shopping, when I have a meeting with the doctor, who I’m visiting and where I eat. But, do we really want this? Are the potential help which those systems can provide in the prevention and in the fight against the crime enough to give up the freedom? No, they are not. We are living in a free and open society. This is a good thing that we have to protect.

Prevent the discrimination by the IA

In addition the EDPB and the EDPS ask to prohibit the IA systems which classified people based on groups of ethnic, sex or sexual or political preferences.

Because this encourage the discrimination.

As a society we need to fight against the discrimination. Discrimination by people but also by systems. We are choosing to avoid that systems discriminate people. In Netherlands we have seen how this can go bad with the Toeslagen affair.

Emotions recognition

The EDPB and the EDPS make a third appeal: they are asking the prohibition of the IA which recognize emotions. The emotions recognition can involve a lot of risks for citizen’s freedom. Try to think to employers which give to employees a bad review if they seem “angry” meanwhile they are at the pc, to employees that shall smile in order to obtain the access on the working place, or to the police that stop, as a precaution, people who, according to the system, are “angry” or “dissatisfied” meanwhile they are walking on the street.

Draft law on the artificial intelligence

Regulation have made some call-in response to the draft proposal of the European Commission on the IA. This proposal deals with a lot of different system, but mainly it imposes additional rules on system which have a high risk for citizens. As algorithms which deal with the allowance or benefits of the government for citizens.

According to the proposal, this type of systems shall be registered. In the future, those systems will be also be certificated in order to demonstrate the compliance to the new legislation. In addition, companies will be obliged to set as those systems work.

But, in addition, to the requests above mentioned, the EDPB and the EDPS consider that the European Commission shall improve the proposal

Unclear rules

The EDPB and the EDPS have noticed that a lot of rules are not enough clear. Which party shall enforce the law and how exactly? And which are exactly the regales when systems are used for transfer data out of the European countries?

The EDPB and the EDPS consider that the legislation shall be coherent with eh General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The actual proposal includes different definitions in some concept compared to the GDPR. In addition, procedures that companies shall follow are different from those one of the GDPR.

This provokes confusion and makes very difficult for companies and other organization get in compliance with the legislation.

Follow up

The EDPB and the EDPS have agreed this response during the last reunion on the 18th of June 2021. The document includes this response will be published on the website of the EDPB within few days.

The EDPB and the EDPS have written this opinion on the request of the European Commission. Later, also European Member States will comment the proposal, followed by the European Parliament.


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