The future must be ours to shape.

Facial recognition can and will be used against each of us by governments and corporations - based on who we are and what we look like.

Reclaim our public space. Ban biometric mass surveillance!

Join the movement

What is Biometric mass surveillance?

Biometric data are bits of data that are unique to our bodies and behaviours, which divulge sensitive information about who we are. For example, our faces can be used for facial recognition to make a prediction or assessment about us – and so can our eyes, veins, voices, the way we walk or type on a keyboard, and much more.

Governments, police forces and corporations use recording devices (like CCTV cameras) and facial recognition software to gather our biometric data. This means they can track us from one place to another using our unique characteristics to permanently identify each of us. This blanket capture of every person’s biometric data in public spaces like streets, parks, train stations, shops or sports venues simply for trying to live our lives is biometric mass surveillance. It treats us all as walking barcodes.

Should an employer use your facial expressions to decide if you’re fit for a job?
We want to be treated by our employer based on our work, not our face or body.
Should the police put you on a list of suspicious people based on the way you walk?
We want the police to treat us with decency and respect, not as criminal suspects.
Should a shop only show you products based on their assumption of your gender or ethnicity?
We want to have have choice over what we buy, not be manipulated or discriminated against by big businesses.
Should a hospital refuse to let you visit a relative because you went to a protest when you were younger?
We want to be able to speak freely and document injustice, not to self-censor because we are constantly watched.
Should a university deny you a place on your favourite course because of the people you meet up with?
We want to choose our education freely, regardless of where we come from or who our friends are.
Should your car insurance increase your premium because of the way you dress?
We want to have control over our data, not to be exploited by corporations abusing our identities to make money.

The future must be ours to shape. Our lives must be ours to decide.

Privacy is power

Surveillance is money

Reclaiming our futures

In today’s world of always being “on”, the power to decide when we do and when we don’t share our sensitive information is vital. Our privacy is a condition for enjoying our freedoms in public spaces and public life: it’s what gives us the ability to join together, raise our voices and live as we choose.
Our personal lives matter – that’s why we don’t share our email passwords, leave our front doors unlocked, or why we get to vote behind a screen. It allows us to make sure that powerful governments don’t use our data to target us or that powerful corporations do not manipulate our preferences. Privacy gives us the confidence to go to the doctor, to express who we are proudly, or to speak up boldly and take action when someone is being treated unfairly. The freedoms that come with privacy help us go about our lives without constantly having to look over our shoulder, or feeling that we have to conform to someone else’s labels.
Police forces trying to cut corners. Politicians manipulating our votes to push authoritarian agendas. Corporations making huge sums of money from watching us (often known as “surveillance capitalism”). They are working together to follow us as we move about in our towns and cities.
By tracking us through biometric surveillance, these powerful actors can instantly match our face – or other body parts – to massive amounts of information about us. Huge databases about our interests, activities and personal networks can be combined with new information about our faces, bodies, where we go and what we do. From this, they claim to know what we are thinking, how we are feeling or what we might be about to do next – even though there is no reliable scientific basis for this.
We've seen it already
Cambridge Analytica suppressing voters in the UK and US. Peaceful protesters and students monitored with illegal police drones in France. Commuters treated as suspects in Germany. Political opponents attacked and silenced in Honk Kong. People of colour traumatically falsely arrested in the US. It’s gone too far already - but we can put a stop to it now.
Choices and opportunities about our futures will be taken away from us simply for being who we are. We must fight back against the powerful governments and corporations and make sure that technology truly works for all of us; not for the greed, and control of the powerful few.
Under constant biometric mass surveillance, our faces and bodies expose us to the manipulation and impulses of authorities and companies. We are watched and judged based on how we look. We become anxious, less comfortable and less free to be ourselves. Evidence shows that they put us into boxes based on how they perceive our ethnicity, our gender, our age and more. They claim to know what we are doing or thinking by how we swing our arms, the shape of our head or the look on our face. We don’t even know that these unfair and often discriminatory assumptions are being made about us.Yet they will be permanently linked to our faces and our bodies, forever, wherever we go.
Once you are watched and categorised like this, your future can be decided for you
It will dictate the adverts that you will you see or not see on a “smart” billboard. You could be considered a trouble-maker in the eyes (and the official watch-lists) of the police. The way you dress, look or act today, the places you go to and the people you associate with, could become a barrier for employment, education or travel tomorrow. Your future freedom can be taken away simply for being who you are.

A ban on biometric mass surveillance is the only solution for a future where our choices are made by us, not by algorithms.

Who’s saying what about biometric mass surveillance?

  • Marcel Kolaja

Change is happening. Follow the latest news here


ReclaimYourFace is a movement led by civil society organisations across Europe:

Access Now ARTICLE19 Bits of Freedom CCC Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D3) Digitalcourage Digitale Gesellschaft CH Digitale Gesellschaft DE Državljan D EDRi Electronic Frontier Finland Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights Homo Digitalis IT-Political Association of Denmark IuRe La Quadrature du Net Liberties Metamorphosis Foundation Panoptykon Foundation Privacy International SHARE Foundation
In collaboration with our campaign partners:

AlgorithmWatch AlgorithmWatch/CH All Out Amnesty International Anna Elbe Aquilenet Associazione Luca Coscioni Ban Facial Recognition Europe Big Brother Watch Certi Diritti Chaos Computer Club Lëtzebuerg (C3L) CILD D64 Danes je nov dan Datapanik Digitale Freiheit DPO Innovation Electronic Frontier Norway European Center for Not-for-profit Law (ECNL) European Digital Society Eumans Football Supporters Europe Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung Germanwatch German acm chapter Gesellschaft Fur Informatik (German Informatics Society) GONG Hellenic Association of Data Protection and Privacy Hellenic League for Human Rights info.nodes irish council for civil liberties JEF, Young European Federalists Kameras Stoppen Ligue des droits de L'Homme (FR) Ligue des Droits Humains (BE) LOAD e.V. Ministry of Privacy Privacy first logo Privacy Lx Privacy Network Projetto Winston Smith Reporters United Saplinq Science for Democracy Selbstbestimmt.Digital STRALI Stop Wapenhandel The Good Lobby Italia UNI-Europa Unsurv Vrijbit Wikimedia FR Xnet

Reclaim Your Face is also supported by:

Jusos Piratenpartei DE Pirátská Strana

MEP Patrick Breyer, Germany, Greens/EFA
MEP Marcel Kolaja, Czechia, Greens/EFA
MEP Anne-Sophie Pelletier, France, The Left
MEP Kateřina Konečná, Czechia, The Left

Should your organisation be here, too?
Here's how you can get involved.
If you're an individual rather than an organisation, or your organisation type isn't covered in the partnering document, please get in touch with us directly.