New campaign demands EU-wide ban on live facial recognition in public spaces

A new campaign is calling for a ban on live facial recognition in public places. The #ReclaimYourFace campaign is building on existing national successes in Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Serbia. The call comes as the EU is moving towards publishing proposals for new rules on the use of artificial intelligence.

Activists urge EU to ban live facial recognition in public spaces (Politico, link):

"Digital rights advocates in five European countries launched a campaign Thursday to spotlight the increasing use of facial recognition and other biometric identification technology across the Continent, which they say will pave the way for mass surveillance on an unprecedented scale.

“We want to put a public voice in front of our EU leaders and national leaders — so that they can no longer ignore this issue,” Ella Jakubowska, a policy and campaigns officer at advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi), told POLITICO.

When the EU released a pitch for its upcoming laws for artificial intelligence earlier this year, political leaders promised “a broad European debate” on how the technology — which can single out individuals in crowds in real time by analyzing features like their faces or voices — should be used to monitor public spaces, she said."

See: Joint civil society statement: People across Europe challenge biometric mass surveillance as #ReclaimYourFace movement launches (link)

"This civil society call to ban biometric mass surveillance comes in reaction to the rapid and secretive roll out of invasive and unlawful technologies by police forces and local authorities in many European countries. The European Commission is currently considering all options for protecting people from harmful uses of biometric surveillance technology, including a ban. We urge them to take the need for a ban seriously and put an end to this enormous threat to our rights and freedoms."

Statewatch is a member of European Digital Rights (EDRi).


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