Europe is once again establishing itself as a leader in privacy protection, preparing to ban the use of facial recognition by law enforcement.
Facial recognition is widely used by law enforcement around the world, but the practice is highly controversial. Studies have shown that many facial recognition algorithms unfairly target people of color. There are also concerns about how data is collected, with companies like Clearview AI drawing criticism for scraping social media platforms to collect photos without consent.
According to Gizmodo, the EU Parliament wants lawmakers to permanently ban facial recognition for law enforcement use. Parliament also wants a moratorium on tech companies collecting biometric data. The one exception is when facial recognition is used solely to identify the victim of a crime.
Calls, however, for a moratorium on the deployment of facial recognition systems for law enforcement purposes that have the function of identification, unless strictly used for the purpose of identification of victims of crime, until the technical standards can be considered fully fundamental rights compliant, results derived are non-biased and non-discriminatory, the legal framework provides strict safeguards against misuse and strict democratic control and oversight, and there is empirical evidence of the necessity and proportionality for the deployment of such technologies; notes that where the above criteria are not fulfilled, the systems should not be used or deployed.
The EU has always been far ahead of the US, in terms of protecting consumer privacy. If the EU passes its facial recognition legislation, it could have far-reaching effects beyond the borders of Europe.