Civil society calls for a ban on biometric mass surveillance
14 May 2020 17:23 GMT

Privacy NGO alliance European Digital Rights (EDRi) has released a paper "Ban Biometric Mass Surveillance: A set of fundamental rights demands for the EU Commission and EU Member States".

The group says the European Commission and EU Member States need to ensure that such technologies are comprehensively banned in both law and practice.

The grouping of 44 organisations has made these demands:

  • Member states must halt and dismantle all current uses of and plans for biometric mass surveillance
  • Member states must disclose all plans (in place and for the future) to use biometric technologies which may amount to mass surveillance
  • Member states must stop any legislation to legalise biometric mass surveillance and, instead, make sure that national legislation specifically prohibits this practice
  • EU bodies must cease all funding for schemes to develop, test or deploy biometric mass surveillance or biometric predictions
  • The European Commission must review all biometrics laws that could contribute or amount to mass surveillance
  • The European Commission must ensure through legislative and non-legislative measures that the use of biometrics for mass surveillance in public spaces is comprehensively, immediately and indefinitely banned in law and in practice.

Fanny Hidvégi, Europe Policy Manager at EDRi member Access Now (AN) explains:

"Human rights apply in emergencies and health crises. We don’t have to choose between privacy and health: protecting digital rights also promotes public health. The suspension of data protection rights in Hungary show why the EU needs to step up to protect fundamental rights".

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