February 29, 2024

The European Union has approved a landmark Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, but advocacy advisor Mher Hakobyan criticizes it for not including a full ban on facial recognition technology. He argues that this decision sets a dangerous precedent globally for AI regulation and missed an opportunity to prevent damage to human rights, civic space, and the rule of law in the EU. Despite pressure from member states, the European Parliament stepped back from its original position, disappointing Hakobyan. He believes that no safeguards can prevent the human rights harms caused by facial recognition, advocating for an outright ban. Additionally, he criticizes the failure to ban the export of harmful AI technologies and warns against the double standard of allowing European companies to profit from technologies that harm human rights in their home states. The provisional high-level political deal will be followed by intensive technical meetings before a final text can be adopted as law. Amnesty International, along with other civil society organizations, has been advocating for EU AI regulation that protects and promotes human rights. They have been specifically calling for a ban on facial recognition technology for identification purposes by both state agencies and private sector actors.

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