The European Parliament has issued a recommendation that EU legislators prohibit automatic facial recognition in public places. They’re also demanding that strict regulations be implemented to ensure that police use of artificial intelligence is justifiable. The calls follow a vote in favor of a non-binding resolution on the issue.
With 377-248 and 62 abstentions, the non-binding resolution passed. Now, it is up to EU lawmakers to enact these regulations into law or not. In April, the European Commission released its artificial intelligence bill, which now has the backing of the European Parliament and may proceed.
No facial recognition by AI and no private databases
According to MEPs, individuals should not be observed in public places. This is due to concerns regarding the errors that artificial intelligence may have when it comes to recognizing people. According to the European Parliament, MEPs believe that they identify ethnic minorities, older people, and women with a higher error rate.
They advise that algorithms used by artificial intelligence by public organizations should be “transparent, traceable and sufficiently documented”. And, if possible, use open-source software.
Another issue they’ve emphasized is the use of private databases (however “private” they may be). Some public agencies employ artificial intelligence to identify citizens using private face recognition databases. One of the most popular and controversial is Clearview AI.
Finally, they propose that the use of automated systems to identify individuals or predict crimes be stopped. They argue, however, that in extreme circumstances and serious offenses such as terrorism or kidnappings, it may be beneficial and important.
The European Parliament resolution, in any case, is not binding. This implies that it has a supporting function in comparison to the European Commission’s legislators, rather than an active role in influencing the application of the rules. Margrethe Vestager has been indicating for some time that these practices do not comply with GDPR. Three years after it started to apply, it already has to be renewed.