Brussels, 07/06/2023 – One week before the plenary vote on the new EU regulation on artificial intelligence (the AI Act), biometric mass surveillance turns out to be the main point of contention. Amendments could be submitted until today. While the Conservatives are asking for the ban on facial surveillance in public to be made irrelevant through exceptions, MEPs from four political groups (liberals, socialists, greens and left) are requesting an additional ban on automated behavioural surveillance in public spaces.
Pirate Party lawmaker and digital freedom fighter Patrick Breyer comments:
“With the AI law, we have the unique chance to give Europe a future free of China-style ubiquitous techno-mass surveillance.
Contrary to a conservative myth, there is not a single example of biometric real-time surveillance ever having prevented a terrorist attack or other events of this kind. With false alarm rates as high as 99%, these technologies are not nearly reliable enough to be of any use. Requiring a court order as proposed by conservative hardliners is a mere formality, a smokescreen for mass surveillance. Their proposed ‘exceptions’ to the ban would in fact justify the pervasive deployment of facial surveillance technology to search for thousands of “victims”, “threats” and suspects of “serious crimes” who are wanted at any given moment. We must not normalise a culture of mistrust and side with authoritarian regimes that use AI to suppress civil society!
France and Hamburg are threatening to introduce technology that will automatically report us for ‚anormal‘ behaviour to the police. Such suspicion machines wrongly report countless citizens, are discriminatory, educate to conformist behaviour and are absolutely no good for arresting criminals, as studies and experience prove.
We will fight against the gradual suppression of diversity and creation of a conformist consumer society as in China!”