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Artificial Intelligence: Europe might ban facial recognition in public spaces for up to 5 years

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Artificial Intelligence: Facial recognition tech in the EU might have to wait 3-5 years, at least when it comes to public spaces.
Facial recognition tech in the EU might have to wait 3-5 years, at least when it comes to public spaces.

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By Stan Schroeder

Facial recognition technology may soon be banned in the public spaces of the European Union. 

The European Commission is considering a temporary ban, lasting 3-5 years, on such technology in public spaces, for private and public organizations alike. This is according to a draft white paper on artificial intelligence, obtained by Euractiv and Politico.

According to the document, the purpose of the ban is to identify and develop “a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures.”

The reasoning for the ban on facial recognition stems from the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which states that citizens should have “the right not to be subject of a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling, which produces legal effects concerning him or her or similarly significantly affects him or her.”

The EU has long been wary of AI technology advancing too soon, to the detriment of its citizens’ privacy. If the new draft is implemented as a regulation, certain EU countries will have to halt plans for implementing AI-enhanced surveillance. This includes Germany’s plan to place AI-enhanced surveillance cameras at train stations and other public locations, as well as similar initiatives in Spain and France

According to The Guardian, UK police are considering facial recognition software, and legislation like the above ban was used an argument to leave the EU by Brexit supporters.

The white paper’s completed version should be published in late February, Euractiv claims. 

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