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  • Tom Jowitt

EU Parliament Approves Draft AI Regulations

European Union edges forward into passing the world’s first laws governing artificial intelligence (AI), after parliament approval

The European Union has taken a major step towards regulating the growing artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

The European Parliament on Wednesday agreed changes to draft artificial intelligence rules, that will include a ban on the use of AI in biometric surveillance and for generative AI systems such as ChatGPT to disclose any AI-generated content.

It comes after EU tech chief Margrethe Vestager last month said that a draft code of conduct on AI could be drawn up within weeks, allowing industry to commit to a final proposal “very, very soon.”

Draft laws

The European push to develop a code of practice for AI comes amid regulatory and industry concern about the uptake of AI systems.

“On Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act with 499 votes in favour, 28 against and 93 abstentions ahead of talks with EU member states on the final shape of the law,” the EU Parliament stated.

“The rules would ensure that AI developed and used in Europe is fully in line with EU rights and values including human oversight, safety, privacy, transparency, non-discrimination and social and environmental wellbeing,” it added.

MEPs expanded the list to include bans on intrusive and discriminatory uses of AI, such as:

  • “Real-time” remote biometric identification systems in publicly accessible spaces;

  • “Post” remote biometric identification systems, with the only exception of law enforcement for the prosecution of serious crimes and only after judicial authorisation;

  • biometric categorisation systems using sensitive characteristics (e.g. gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship status, religion, political orientation);

  • predictive policing systems (based on profiling, location or past criminal behaviour);

  • emotion recognition systems in law enforcement, border management, the workplace, and educational institutions; and

  • untargeted scraping of facial images from the internet or CCTV footage to create facial recognition databases (violating human rights and right to privacy).

The amendments could set up a clash with those EU countries that are opposed to a total ban on AI use in biometric surveillance.

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