Technical progress should never come at the expense of people’s fundamental rights.
With an S&D-led progressive majority, the European Parliament has called for a ban on police and judicial authorities using facial recognition technology in the EU. For the S&D Group, the exponential growth of artificial intelligence to police our streets has reinforced flawed and discriminatory practices when it comes to identifying criminals. Despite attempts to weaken Parliament’s position, S&D MEPs fought to safeguard fundamental rights of EU citizens and put the brakes on any steps that result in mass surveillance in public places.
Petar Vitanov, rapporteur on the use of AI in criminal law, said:
“Technical progress should never come at the expense of people’s fundamental rights and today the Parliament has sent a clear signal that fundamental rights are unconditional – no ifs, no maybes. AI technologies should never reinforce discrimination or do more harm than good, above all when used by judicial and law enforcement authorities. It is no surprise that the conservative EPP group and far right parties wanted to water down Parliament’s position and create loopholes to bypass citizens’ rights.
“What’s important is that these attempts failed and we found a progressive majority that agrees on clear red lines for AI. For the first time ever, we call for a moratorium on the deployment of facial recognition systems for law enforcement purposes; so far as the technology proves ineffective or leads to discriminatory results. We are clear in opposing predictive policing based on the use of AI, as well as any processing of biometric data that leads to mass surveillance.”