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EU Considers Banning Facial Recognition Over Privacy Concerns

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The European Commission says it is considering banning the use of facial recognition for up to five years in public areas such as train stations, sports stadiums and shopping centres over fears about creeping surveillance of European citizens.


The regulators want to perfect the use of the technology and prevent it from abuse.


Facial recognition technology allegedly captures faces on closed-circuit television or other devices. Then checked in real-time against crime watch lists.


An exemption for the ban could be for security projects as well as research and development.


EU Considers Banning Facial Recognition Over Privacy Concerns
EU concerned about facial recognition technology. Photo: MITTechnologyReview.


The Commission in an 18-page white paper, suggests that new rules will come to the fore. This is to improve existing regulations surrounding privacy and data rights.

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It proposes mandatory obligations for both developers and users of artificial intelligence. Also, urging member countries to create an authority to monitor the new rules.

The Facial recognition ban to last for three to five years

The white paper stated in part:


“[the] use of facial recognition technology by private or public actors in public spaces would be prohibited for a definite period (eg three to five years).  In this time, a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures could be identified and developed”.


The proposals come amid calls from politicians and campaigners in the UK to stop the police from using live facial recognition for public surveillance.


Campaigners claim the current technology is inaccurate, intrusive and infringes on an individual’s right to privacy.


A recent study suggested facial recognition algorithms cannot accurately identify black and Asian faces compared to white faces. Some other countries are allegedly close to perfecting this technology causing more unrest and fear.


Despite the many advantages of using facial recognition, many believe it will lead to abuse of power in the future.


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