BRUSSELS — Europe got closer to a full-on ban on facial recognition in public spaces and reining in ChatGPT after lawmakers adopted a strengthened version of the EU’s artificial intelligence rulebook on Thursday.
Members of the European Parliament in the internal market and civil liberties committees passed their compromise text for the Artificial Intelligence Act, first floated by the European Commission in April 2021. The text was backed by an 84-7 vote, with 12 abstentions.
MEPs agreed on a blanket ban on remote biometric identification — AI-aided techniques, such as facial recognition, to recognize individuals from pictures or footage — in public venues, both in real-time and after the fact, in a departure from both the Commission’s original proposal and the position backed in Council by EU member countries. The issue was hotly debated among leading lawmakers thrashing out the text, with the center-right Christian Democrats fiercely opposing the ban.
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