Public spaces are where we share experiences and join together. Meeting up with friends to hang out. Taking a walk in the park. Organising a community celebration. Holding political discussions. Protesting injustices.
We would never accept a person following us constantly, monitoring and assessing who we are, what we do, when and where we move. Facial recognition and other biometric technologies used in public spaces act just like that – turning every one of us into a potential suspect.
Research shows that these technologies amplify discrimination and are used to persecute people who are simply exercising their rights. At least 15 European countries – and counting – have experimented with biometric surveillance technologies such as facial recognition in public spaces. In the United States, 5 major cities have now banned the use of facial recognition.
In the EU, the rushed introduction of expensive surveillance technologies that track our faces and bodies is being done without consideration for the harms it could cause to our societies. We need to stand up now and protect the democratic sanctuaries that are our public spaces!