EU is approaching ban on predictive policing and facial recognition

The EU moves closer to a groundbreaking ban on predictive policing and facial recognition.

In a pivotal vote today on the bloc’s flagship AI law, two committees of MEPs overwhelmingly approved new artificial intelligence rules. The text now goes to a vote by the full European Parliament in June. If approved, the regulation will become the world’s first comprehensive AI law.

In Thursday’s vote, MEPs approved a strengthened version of the rulebook. The law now prohibits predictive policing and facial recognition in public spaces.

The changes also introduce new restrictions on generative models, such as ChatGPT, and emotion recognition.

Civil liberties campaigners have welcomed the move. Fair tasting, a criminal justice watchdog, described the vote as “a landmark result” for human rights.

Less than 5 weeks until TNW Conference

Don’t miss your chance to be part of Europe’s leading technical event

“These systems automate injusticeexacerbating and amplifying racism and discrimination in the police and criminal justice system, and fueling systemic inequality in society,” said Griff Ferris, Senior Legal and Policy Officer at Fair Trials.

“The EU Parliament has taken an important step by voting to ban these systems, and we urge them to get the job done in the final vote in June.”

The industry is responding

In the tech sector, reactions to the vote were mixed. The Software Alliance (BSA)a lobby group representing Microsoft and IBM, among others, has asked for more clarification.

“The enterprise software industry remains concerned about the division of responsibilities in the AI value chain and the treatment of base models,” says Matteo Quattrocchi, BSA policy director.

“The rules as they are currently written are not aligned with the role of companies in the AI ecosystem, or differences in business models and AI used, and is unlikely to address some of the concerns raised by specific applications of some foundation models.

Privacy experts, meanwhile, can expect further demand for their services. Isabelle Roccia, MD for Europe at the International Association of Privacy Professionalsexpect a significant impact.

“Organizations will increasingly need to rely on their privacy teams to operationalize AI because their data management expertise is highly transferable and extremely relevant to AI governance,” she said.