Support Initiatives
September 10, 2021

NGO fights to end biometric mass surveillance

Automated facial recognition technology is becoming the future of prejudiced policing. 

With examples from all over the world, automated facial recognition is not only used as a tool for extended government control, but also exacerbates over-policing of minorities.

Matt Mahmousi, AI and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International said that, “Facial recognition risks being weaponised by law enforcement against marginalised communities around the world. From New Delhi to New York, this invasive technology turns our identities against us and undermines human rights.” 

Of the dominant biometrics used for policing (fingerprints, iris, palm, voice and face), racial recognition is the least accurate feature, and threatens to transgress many fundamental rights to privacy. 

This is particularly problematic as recent research has discovered “divergent error rates” across demographics. FRT algorithms have been found to have error rates of up to 34 percent higher for darker-skinned persons than lighter-skinned ones, meaning that Black people are at the highest risk of being misidentified by facial recognition systems. 

Examples of the discriminatory use of AI was seen in Black Lives Matter protests globally. 

Reclaim Your Face is a civil society initiative for a ban on biometric mass surveillance practices. 

The group is calling on the European Commission to strictly regulate the use of biometric technologies to protect and preserve fundamental rights. This includes regulation on unlawful mass surveillance and arbitrarily-targeted uses of biometrics. 

To support the initiative, you can sign their ECI petition here and spread the word about their work on social media. 

Image by Melanie Kreutz. 

Call to Action
NGO fights to end biometric mass surveillance