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EU: Ban on 'abusive' surveillance welcomed but concern at omission of refugees and migrants in AI Act

© Mesut Ugurlu/Getty Images

Responding to a decision earlier today by the European Parliament to ban invasive mass surveillance technologies in its Artificial Intelligence Act, Mher Hakobyan, Amnesty International’s Advocacy Advisor on AI Regulation, said: 

“We welcome the landmark decision to adopt a ban on abusive mass surveillance technology.

"However, it is essential the European Parliament and EU member states ensure that the development, sale, use and export of facial recognition and other mass surveillance technologies are banned in the final AI Act during upcoming negotiations.  

“There is no human rights-compliant way to use remote biometric identification. No fixes, technical or otherwise, can make it compatible with human rights law. The only safeguard against it is an outright ban. 

“If these systems are legalised, it will set an alarming and far-reaching precedent, leading to the proliferation of AI technologies that don't comply with human rights in the future.  

“Whilst the ban on abusive surveillance is a step in the right direction, the parliament fell short of upholding human rights for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.

“It failed to ban AI systems of discriminatory profiling, risk assessment and forecasting used to curtail, prohibit and prevent border movements. 

“It is vital as the AI Act heads towards final negotiations, that EU lawmakers do not dismiss the rights of people on the move.”

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