NEW EU PRIVACY BILL SERVES AS A MODEL FOR US LEGISLATORS

The growth of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is creating issues and challenges never dreamed of twenty years ago. Governments, employers, private security firms, and pretty much everyone else with sufficient financing and intent, can now capture images, conversations, and track movements on a scale never before seen. They can also subliminally influence consumers’ decision-making, track spending patterns, and catalog behavior. Face recognition software is now commonplace. Overall, there is no question that AI poses a significant threat to privacy.

Against this background, there is an unmistakenly rising need to address privacy infringement through new laws designed to catch up with the enormous technological leaps of our era.

The European Union is now spearheading the legislative efforts designed to curb the use of artificial intelligence in hiring, policing, college admissions, and even loan applications. The proposed law would prohibit social credit systems such as those implemented by the Chinese government. Moreover, police forces across the continent would be barred from using “remote biometric identification systems” such as facial recognition in public places in real-time. However, exceptions can be made, and a judge could approve exemptions in very critical cases such as missing or abducted children, stopping imminent terrorist threats, and locating suspects of certain high crimes, ranging from fraud to murder.

The bill also seeks to also ban AI systems that use “subliminal techniques” or take advantage of individuals with disabilities in order to “materially distort a person’s behavior” in a way that could cause physical or psychological harm.

The EU’s new bill is one of the broadest of its kind to be proposed by a Western government. If the proposed bill becomes law, regulators could fine a company up to 6% of its annual worldwide revenue per violation.

If passed, the new bill could well serve as a model for the US to follow. Robert S. Popescu

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