Civil society groups call on MEPs to ban biometric mass surveillance

Civil society groups are urging MEPs to ban biometric mass surveillance, specifically remote use of identification systems like facial recognition in public spaces. The focus is on preventing mass surveillance and protecting against discriminatory or manipulative practices related to biometric categorization and emotion recognition.

A coalition of 53 civil society organisations has called on members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to ensure that the AI Act – currently under debate in the parliament – includes a ban on all remote use of biometric identification systems (such as facial recognition) in publicly-accessible spaces. They note that, ‘without an outright ban on the remote use of these technologies in publicly accessible spaces, all the places where we exercise our rights and come together as communities will be turned into sites of mass surveillance where we are all treated as suspects’. MEPs are further urged to embed into the AI Act provisions that would ‘put a stop to discriminatory or manipulative forms of biometric categorisation, and to properly address the risks of emotion recognition’.