September 27, 2022

The EU will create a single database for facial recognition systems


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The European Commission plans to create a giant facial recognition database to be shared with EU law enforcement agencies.

The authors of the document note the “great potential” of the initiative. Many EU countries already store millions of pictures of citizens: Hungary has 30 million, Italy 17 million, France 6 million, Germany 5.5 million. These pictures range from criminal suspects to asylum seekers.

Human rights activists expressed concern about the plans of the European Commission.

The EU representative stated that countries could only share images of the faces of suspected or convicted criminals under Prüm II.

For the past 15 years, under the Prüm II policy, police in Europe have been sharing information such as fingerprints and DNA in criminal investigations.

Recall that in April 2021, the European Commission submitted a bill regulating the use of AI in the EU.

The new rules bar law enforcement from using facial recognition — except in cases of “serious crimes,” which the Commission says could mean terrorism-related cases.

In the same month, the European data protection agency demanded that the technology be banned without any exceptions due to its “profound and undemocratic invasion” of people’s privacy.

In June, a group of 55 human rights organizations criticized the bill.

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