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Facial recognition tech is supporting mass surveillance. It’s time for a ban, say privacy campaigners

A group of 51 digital rights organizations has called on the European Commission to impose a complete ban on the use of facial recognition technologies for mass surveillance – with no exceptions allowed.

Comprising activist groups from across the continent, such as Big Brother Watch UK, AlgorithmWatch and the European Digital Society, the call was chaperoned by advocacy network the European Digital Rights (EDRi) in the form of an open letter to the European commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders.

It comes just weeks before the Commission releases much-awaited new rules on the ethical use of artificial intelligence on the continent on 21 April.

The letter urges the Commissioner to support enhanced protection for fundamental human rights in the upcoming laws, in particular in relation to facial recognition and other biometric technologies, when these tools are used in public spaces to carry out mass surveillance.

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According to the coalition, there are no examples where the use of facial recognition for the purpose of mass surveillance can justify the harm that it might cause to individuals’ rights, such as the right to privacy, to data protection, to non-discrimination or to free expression.It is often defended that […]

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