EU considers ban on facial recognition technology

The European Union is considering a ban on the use of facial recognition software in public areas as it considers how to regulate the technology.
The ban would last between three and five years, although exceptions could be made for security and research projects, according to the proposals seen by the Reuters news agency.

The plans have been set out in an 18-page white paper which said new legislation could be required in order to protect the privacy rights of European citizens.

Image: Margrethe Vestager’s is expected to present the proposals next month
“Building on these existing provisions, the future regulatory framework could go further and include a time-limited ban on the use of facial recognition technology in public spaces,” the document said.
The duration of the ban would be used to identify and develop “a sound methodology for assessing the impacts of this technology and possible risk management measures”.

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The EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, is expected to present her proposals next month.

In the UK, London’s Metropolitan Police has run 10 trials of live facial recognition technology which scanned the faces of the public against a database of people of interest.

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Huge investment would be needed to upgrade police IT systems to ensure the use of that technology is legal in the future, Johanna Morley, the Met’s senior technologist, told Sky News.
Last year Sky News revealed that despite the Met’s claims that its system is only inaccurate 0.1% of the time, an independent evaluation commissioned into how well the technology worked found it was actually 81% inaccurate.
The report raised “significant concerns” about Scotland Yard’s use of the technology, and calls for the facial recognition programme to be halted.

Source : Sky News