European Union regulators plan to limit facial recognition technology.

EU Commission Opposes Use of Big Brother Tools by Law Enforcement

While a few American cities and towns have banned the use of facial recognition software by their police departments. Now comes revelations that the EU Commission which over sees all the member countries is planning new limits on facial recognition technology to curb its increasing use to monitor citizens.

In a review of the new regulations by The Financial Times of London, the EU regulations give citizens more rights over the use of facial recognition data, according to a story in The Telegraph.

According to comments from an official, the aim is to “limit the indiscriminate use of facial recognition technology by companies and public authorities.”

Agencies on both sides of the Atlantic have misused facial recognition, such as scanning the crowds in London’s Kings Cross area without public disclosure. Members of the EU commission from Brussels say they want to create ethically based laws on use of the technology. Though it’s early in the process, they are hoping to “foster public trust and acceptance.”

In June, an expert group the EU commission put together said one of the main points of the plan was to let the public know when they are being scanned via mass surveillance. But some question whether that’s enough.

AI Facial Recognition Works Well

In China recently, officials caught a man and charged him with the murder of his girlfriend after he tried to use her face to apply for a loan online. reports the man strangled the woman, then took her to his home town. He got online and applied for a loan in her name. The loan application included a facial recognition app that the man put his girlfriend’s face in front of. The app requires the person to blink. When the deceased woman failed to blink, the AI alerted the company security team. The app then decided that the person’s voice was that of a man and not the woman applying for the loan. Authorites were alerted and the man was arrested shortly thereafter.

Chock one up for AI⏤that was a good outcome. However, the systems being put out to spy on the public are too fast, too accurate and unforgiving if they assess someone as a problem needing attention. In China, a system can deny people travel on airlines or even restrict banking functions. It classifies each person and identifies each when they attempt to use a service.

The new tech creates a higher level of crime and punishment, only possible with an AI program that watches citizens in public, everywhere, all the time. You could say author George Orwell tried to warn of this outcome in the novel 1984. The story does not end well. The EU and some U.S. cities are seeking the right balance between safety and Big Brother, whatever that turns out to be.