Reclaim Your Face’s coalition & 53 orgs made it: Leading EU politician speaks against biometric mass surveillance
This month we worked together on some specific actions to influence the Artificial Intelligence Act to include a ban on biometric mass surveillance and 53 organisations took part. This builds on the hard work of the whole Reclaim Your Face coalition over the last two years. Our actions have had amazing results, with even the co-lead MEP on the Artificial Intelligence Act committing to table amendments for a more comprehensive ban on RBI in publicly-accessible spaces!
Here is a snapshot of our joint actions last/this week:
- Reclaim Your Face organisations from Italy, Germany, France and Belgium met with key MEPs working on the EU’s AI Act proposal, including co-lead MEP Dragos Tudorache, co-lead MEP Brando Benifei, and MEP Birgit Sippel.
- 53 organisations signed our Reclaim Your Face open letter asking MEPs to protect fundamental rights in the AI Act by prohibiting all remote (i.e. generalised surveillance) uses of biometric identification (RBI) in publicly- accessible spaces.
We have five main demands to ban biometric mass surveillance in the AI Act:
- Extending the scope of the prohibition to cover all private as well as public actors;
- Ensuring that all uses of RBI (whether real-time or post) in publicly- accessible spaces are included in the prohibition;
- Deleting the exceptions to the prohibition, which independent human rights assessments confirm do not meet existing EU fundamental rights standards;
- Putting a stop to discriminatory or manipulative forms of biometric categorisation; and
- Properly addressing the risks of emotion recognition.
Our demands were published in various EU Policy outlets and France.
Our tireless actions to call for a Ban on Biometric Mass Surveillance in the Artificial Intelligence Act have had amazing results so far!
Following our meeting, the co-lead MEP on the AI Act, Dragos Tudorache (Renew) announced that he personally will table amendments for a more comprehensive ban on RBI in publicly-accessible spaces, calling RBI “clearly highly intrusive … in our privacy, our rights”.
This is the result of hearing the views of his colleagues in a majority of the Parliament’s political groups – with several lead MEPs committing publicly to submitting amendments for a full ban on biometric mass surveillance in the AI Act – and suggesting the big influence of the calls of the dozens of organisations and 71,000 people behind Reclaim Your Face’s European Citizens Initiative.
However, we have not won – yet. There will still be many months of negotiations in the AI Act.
You can support Reclaim Your Face individually by signing our ECI, and as an organisation by getting in contact with us so we can explore paths of collaboration.
Thank you to all our partners and supporters for making this possible! The response to our actions suggests that there is clear a majority in the Parliament supporting our call.