AI Act vote: our push to protect citizens from Mass Surveillance

On the 14 of June, MEPs will vote on Parliament’s position on the Artificial Intelligence Act, a proposed EU law on how AI is used in Europe. The reports of the IMCO and LIBE committees already go a long way toward protecting citizens, by banning dangerous Biometric Mass Surveillance, but there are still some gaps that need to be plugged.

Firstly, while the AI act does ban so-called “emotional recognition”, there are concerns that this ban may not extend to “behavioral recognition”, a deeply flawed technology that has reported hugs as violent assault. I don’t believe that citizens should be constantly under the watch of unreliable AI, which is why I signed a plenary amendment along with members from across the political spectrum, to prohibit the use of such AI.

Secondly, there is also a gap with regard to the use of AI to profile migrants and asylum seekers. Every person who comes to seek safety in Europe has a story. Asylum Seekers have fled war, persecution, and famine, and endured immense suffering that no AI can understand, which is why it is so vital that their stories are heard by another human being, because decisions on people’s lives shouldn’t be made by a machine that doesn’t understand the consequences of its decisions, but by people. For those reasons, we also signed amendments prohibiting these practices.

The final vote is expected to be nail-bitingly close, with several groups divided over their positions on AI, but we have an incredible opportunity in front of us to develop ethical, private, and safe AI that benefits all Europeans! I’ll certainly keep you updated on the outcome of the vote.

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