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Opinion & Editorial

EU’s Ban on Facial Recognition

The accelerated speed of facial recognition AI is cause for worry. (Wikimedia Commons)

Around January 17, a leaked white paper draft from the European Commission contained a three-to-five year ban on the use of live facial recognition (LFR) technology in public areas.

Multiple reasons for the ban are obvious, one being for privacy and security since LFR could lead to improper data collection and racial profiling. How to regulate AI development in public spaces needs far more time before decisions can be reached.

Reactions from European citizens are mixed: those in support of the ban are civil rights organizations that question its ethicality and legality since it could monitor everyone, violating privacy rights and freedom of the people.

Another issue with LFR AI is that it iss a relatively new application of AI: insufficient development means limited databases and inaccurate data, which tend to cause false identifications and racial biases.

Other groups, however, such as police forces, support its development and application. Police units from the UK, Germany, and France have already had multiple successful applications of LFR, including identifying suspicious individuals and monitoring watchlisted criminals. Even Brexit enthusiasts are displeased with the EU’s restrictions on technological development.

The white paper is still in its rough draft, with the final copy expected to be announced in mid-to-late February alongside other AI regulations.


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