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Reclaim Your Face: A Call For European Citizens To Demand Facial Recognition Ban

Access Now, EDRi, and the Reclaim Your
coalition are calling for a Europe-wide
ban on the use of dangerous facial recognition technologies
that perpetuate discrimination, erode privacy, and enable
biometric mass surveillance.

Today, February
, the coalition is rallying community support to
#ReclaimYourFace through the launch of a new European
Citizens’ Initiative
(ECI) — a unique tool
that provides space for European citizens to organize and
collectively demand new legislative frameworks.

all have the right to privacy and other rights that ensure
that we live in a free and democratic society. We all have
the right to exist in a Europe where governments and
companies don’t spy on us through harmful technologies,”
said Fanny Hidvégi, Europe Policy Director at
Access Now
. “We are calling on all European
citizens to take an active role in defending our rights,
demanding change, and reclaiming our

Biometric mass surveillance is the blanket
capture, monitoring or tracking of individuals’ unique
identifying features, ranging from facial expressions to how
people walk. European governments, police forces, and
private companies should no longer be allowed to process the
unique biometric data of everyday people — an act often
currently carried out in public settings such as parks,
shopping centres, and train stations, without consent or

“Despite big talk about promoting
‘trustworthy AI’ that is in line with European values,
technologies — such as facial recognition — that enable
biometric mass surveillance are being developed and deployed
in the European Union,” said Daniel Leufer, Europe
Policy Analyst at Access Now
. “These technologies
do not just pose a risk to our rights, they fundamentally
undermine them. EU institutions, national governments and
agencies, and local administration each have their
obligations to protect our fundamental rights and ban these
technologies now and forever.”

How does the
European Citizens’ Initiative work?

needs to collect one million signatures in at least seven EU
countries throughout the next year. If successful, it will
oblige the European Commission to respond to the formal
demand for a new law to ban biometric mass surveillance, and
open a debate among the Members of the European

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