Facial recognition technology breaches GDPR says Vestager 

General Data Protection Regulation

Margrethe Vestager, EU’s tech chief Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday that facial recognition technologies breach the need to give consent, which is stipulated in Europe’s data protection rules (GDPR).

However, the Commissioner backed their use in case of public security, supporting that they should be allowed to automatically identify persons legally.

“China might have data and the US might have money, but Europe has purpose,” the Commission’s VP for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age said.

The use of facial recognition technology remains highly controversial due to fears of China-type surveillance regimes and human rights violations, with Ursula von der Leyen, EC President pledging to distance Europe from these practices and to announcing new AI ethical and human-centred rules in the first 100 days of her mandate.

To this end, Vestager will unveil on Wednesday the Commission’s data strategy and the white paper on artificial intelligence (AI), through which the EU Commission plans to compete with US and Chinese tech giants whilst doing it the “European way,” by promoting European values, such as the right to privacy.

Vestager added that while the Commission will take some time to process the regulation of facial recognition technology in an EU level, this will not prevent national initiatives from using the technology according to existing rules.


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