Europe moves one step closer to finalizing an AI rulebook

The European Parliament has reached a significant milestone by confirming its negotiating mandate for the AI Act, enabling the next stage of negotiations towards a pan-EU rule book for artificial intelligence. MEPs have backed an amended version of the Commission’s proposal that expands the rule book to ensure that AI developed and used in Europe is fully in line with European Union rights and values, including human oversight, safety, privacy, transparency, non-discrimination, and social and environmental well-being. MEPs have added a total ban on remote biometric surveillance and predictive policing, as well as a ban on untargeted scraping of facial images from the internet or CCTV footage to create facial recognition databases. The proposed ban on remote biometric surveillance would apply to both real-time and post applications of technologies like facial recognition, except for law enforcement for the prosecution of serious crimes with judicial sign-off. Other measures include a ban on the use of emotional recognition tech by law enforcement, border agencies, workplaces, and educational institutions and classification of high-risk AI systems that pose significant harm to people’s health, safety, fundamental rights, environment, and used to influence voters. The plenary vote shows overwhelming support among parliamentarians for the amended version of the draft legislation with 499 votes in favour and 28 against. The Council, a body comprised of Member States governments, has already adopted its position on the file. Nevertheless, there is an impetus in Brussels to get this file over the line given how much global attention is now fixed on regulating AI.

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