Insights European Data Protection Supervisor welcomes European Commission’s Artificial Intelligence Act but says that a ban on remote biometric identification in public places is necessary

The EDPS says that the Commission’s legislative proposal for an Artificial Intelligence Act (see item under “Tech”) is the first initiative, worldwide, that provides a legal framework for AI. The EDPS welcomes and supports the EU’s aim of ensuring that AI solutions are shaped according to the EU’s values and legal principles.

However, at the same time, the EDPS expresses regret that his earlier calls for a moratorium on the use of remote biometric identification systems, including facial recognition, in public places have not been addressed by the Commission.

The EDPS says that he will continue to advocate for a stricter approach to automated recognition in public places of human features, including faces but also gait, fingerprints, DNA, voice, keystrokes and other biometric or behavioural signals, whether these are used in a commercial or administrative context, or for law enforcement purposes. A stricter approach is necessary, the EDPS says, given that remote biometric identification, where AI may contribute to unprecedented developments, presents “extremely high risks of deep and non-democratic intrusion into individuals’ private lives”.

The EDPS office says that it will undertake a meticulous and comprehensive analysis of the Commission’s proposal to support EU co-legislators in strengthening the protection of individuals and society. In this context, the EDPS will focus in particular on setting precise boundaries for those tools and systems that may present risks to the fundamental rights to data protection and privacy. To read the EDPS’s press release in full, click here.