the EU plan to “sign” millions of people

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Europe wants to have its citizens registered. And facial recognition technology is a powerful tool to achieve this. A controversial route and that apparently the European authorities have prohibited its use on public roads. However, Europe is preparing a huge, large-scale facial recognition system with millions of faces of European citizens. A large database so that Europol can fight against terrorism, but which calls into question everyone’s privacy.


Prüm II, the great European facial recognition project. The European Commission prepare a regulation called Prüm II by which collaboration between countries will be expanded to share databases and investigate certain crimes. This data includes everything from faces to fingerprints, as well as DNA information, vehicle registrations and police records.

The basic objective explained by Europe is to be able to improve the fight against terrorism. As there is freedom of movement between the different countries, the police forces they ask for more means to be able to persecute certain people. As the proposal describes, Prüm II would facilitate the use of retrospective facial recognition based on images from video surveillance cameras, police photographs or even social networks. A complete surveillance system that, despite being reserved for the police, clearly puts the privacy of citizens at risk.

From comparing blood samples to comparing faces. Let’s set up a crime scene. The police arrive and find some blood samples. They can now compare that DNA obtained with the police database of fingerprints and DNA. Prüm II’s proposal is that faces can also be compared in the future. Go to a database of citizens’ faces and see if it matches.

A disproportionate expansion of policing. “Without serious improvements, the proposed Prüm II Regulation will be like pouring gasoline on a fire,” explains Ella Jakubowskalawyer for the organization European Digital Rights (EDRi).

The organization in defense of digital rights warning that aspects should be reviewed such as the danger of expanding police databases and their potential misuse; establish limits to the proportionality of this data and reinforce data protection guarantees in line with current regulations. That is to say, to review thoroughly so that Prüm II is not an open door to possible violations of our privacy, beyond what the police would technically need.

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Do you want to buy a car? First let me register your face. If the proposal goes ahead, the authorities could begin to request our face, linked to data such as the driver’s license. This could lead according to EDRi, in that when buying a car we are required to accept the registration of our face. And so, for example, check that we are not a terrorist trying to buy a car. Or the opposite case, in case we later commit a crime, they know what car we have and what we look like.

All potential criminals. Prüm II and the registration of millions of faces changes the focus on our innocence. Suddenly we would all be in the database of faces and the police could include us as suspects. “There is strong evidence that the system is flawed and endangers innocent people, especially racialized and marginalized groups,” they point out from the organization. Discrimination based on our physical appearance that we have already seen in many cases. There is still time to check this future legislation.

Image | Delta

Europe wants to have its citizens registered. And facial recognition technology is a powerful tool to achieve this. A controversial…

Europe wants to have its citizens registered. And facial recognition technology is a powerful tool to achieve this. A controversial…

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