Today, the European Parliament’s lead committees on the Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act), the IMCO and LIBE committees, approved the trilogue results of the law in a joint vote. In its current form, the legislative text will allow Member States to introduce biometric mass surveillance using flawed facial recognition technology. That’s why Pirate Party Members of the European Parliament are opposing the deal. Nevertheless, the Pirate Party succeeded in protecting fundamental rights and privacy to a huge extent, for instance by banning social scoring systems or including e-proctoring on the list of high-risk applications.
Marcel Kolaja, Member and Quaestor of the European Parliament for the Czech Pirate Party and Member of the Internal Market committee (IMCO), comments:
“Unfortunately, despite the good position of the European Parliament, the national governments managed to cripple the AI Act. Hence, the Pirates cannot support it. That does not mean that the legislation doesn’t have some positive aspects. Thanks to improvements which I proposed, students won’t be discriminated when during exams. The practice called e-proctoring may falsely accuse students of cheating, especially those with disabilities or those with dark skin. And the AI Act will put a stop to that by requiring stricter criteria for such AI usage. I also appreciate the ban on social scoring systems as we know them from China. It is an endless pity how such promising legislation has gone awry at the last minute and that we therefore cannot vote in favor.”
Patrick Breyer, Member of the European Parliament for the German Pirate Party and Member of the Civil Liberties committee (LIBE), comments:
“With this AI law, it appears the EU intends to compete with China not only technologically but also in terms of high-tech repression. Chilling monitoring of our behaviour and ubiquitious real-time face surveillance in public spaces, error-prone biometric identification used on CCTV recordings even for petty offences, racial classification of persons, unscientific AI ‚video lie detector‘ technology – none of these dystopian technologies will be off limits for EU governments, including illiberal governments such as Hungary’s. Rather than protecting us from these authoritarian instruments, the AI Act provides an instruction manual for governments to roll out biometric mass surveillance in Europe. As important as it is to regulate AI technology, defending our democracy against being turned into a high-tech surveillance state is not negotiable for us Pirates.
The EU’s AI Act opens the door to permanent facial surveillance in real time: Over 6,000 people are wanted by European arrest warrant for the offences listed in the AI Act. Any public space in Europe can be placed under permanent biometric mass surveillance on these grounds. This law legitimises and normalises a culture of mistrust. It leads Europe into a dystopian future of a mistrustful high-tech surveillance state.”