We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

EU plans ban on ‘indiscriminate’ use  of facial recognition technology

30 Aug 2019 / technology Print

EU to act on indiscriminate use of facial identifier tech

The EU wants facial recognition technology strictly controlled by new laws, in a crackdown on creeping surveillance of citizens as technology develops.

The European Commission wants to create the right to control the use of facial recognition data, as part of a move to legislate for artificial intelligence.

The move will limit “indiscriminate’ use of the technologies, by either tech firms or public authorities.


Use of the technology will be clearly flagged to the public, under the new law, it’s believed.

Facial recognition technology is widely used in China and some consumers use it to access vending machines.

Protestors in Hong Kong have recently been filmed cutting down and stamping on facial recognition towers.

In EU countries, collection of sensitive biometric data is already forbidden without explicit consent, under the GDPR.

A Swedish school which used facial-recognition technology to monitor pupils’ attendance, was issued with the first fine under GDPR rules for breaching privacy rights.

Ethical AI

The move comes as the EU considers how to implement "ethical" use of artificial intelligence with "clear, predictable and uniform rules" around its use.

Incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to publish an AI legislation blueprint within 100 days of taking office.

She wants a "co-ordinated European approach on the human and ethical implications of artificial intelligence".

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland