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Europe Makes the Case to Ban Biometric Surveillance

Recently, the European Data Protection Board, tasked with helping countries implement GDPR consistently, has called for a total ban on utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to conduct facial recognition. The European Data Protection Supervisor joined the former entity in making a push for a ban on the controversial technology. The European Data Protection Supervisor acts as the European Union’s independent data body. The two bodies stated that deploying remote biometric identification in public spaces means the end of individual privacy to travel without constantly being tracked by government agencies. According to the organizations, AI should not be used in public spaces for facial recognition, gait recognition, fingerprints, DNA, voice, keystrokes, and other kinds of biometrics.

They are also calling for a ban on using AI to predict people’s ethnicity, gender, and political or sexual orientation with artificial intelligence, a practice that may ultimately be very harmful to certain marginalized groups. Facial recognition is widely controversial, however, the issue doesn’t just pertain to individual’s faces. AI is also taking aim at other parts of the body, such as skin color, hair color, and other physical aspects. The technology is already being used in the real world, yet Europe is seeking to prevent it from being deployed within its boundaries. The bodies stated that AI will likely remain a hot topic of debate in politics for several years as it continues to develop and infringe on individual’s privacy.

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