European Parliament’s LIBE Committee adopted a New Draft Report on the Use of AI by the Police and Judicial Authorities

On June 29, 2021, a draft report on artificial intelligence in criminal law and its use by the police and judicial authorities in criminal matters was presented and adopted by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) with 36 votes to 24, and 6 abstentions.

In this report, LIBE seeks to address the issues raised by the use of AI in Criminal Law and its use by the Police and Judicial Authorities in Criminal Matters. While acknowledging the potential opportunities and advantages that AI may afford, it also highlights the significant risks and effects it may entail, particularly with regard to mass surveillance.

“[W]hereas digital technologies in general and artificial intelligence (AI) in particular bring with them extraordinary promise; whereas AI is one of the strategic technologies of the 21st century, generating substantial benefits in efficiency, accuracy, and convenience, and thus bringing positive change to the European economy; whereas AI should not be seen as an end in itself, but as a tool for serving people, with the ultimate aim of increasing human well-being;”

The report details the different AI applications that may be used by law enforcement which include technologies such as facial recognition technologies, speaker identification, speech identification, etc… But italso underlines that other AI tools and applications are already “used by the judiciary worldwide”. 
Accordingly, the report stresses that AI tools “developed or used by law enforcement or judiciary should, as a minimum, be safe, secure and fit for purpose, respect the principles of fairness, accountability, transparency and explainability, with their deployment subject to a strict necessity and proportionality test”.

However, the report emphasises that “AI has been addressed by the European Parliament several years before the Commission decided to make it a high priority” despite the fact that certain resolutions on big data, robotics and AI have been adopted since 2016. These resolutions called for a human-centric approach to AI.

In the same vein, Members of the Committee are highlighting “the need for democratic guarantees and accountability for the use of AI in law enforcement” and are calling for the following:

  • Human oversight of AI systems, open algorithms and public audits 
  • A ban on private facial recognition databases, behavioural policing and citizen scoring
  • The non-use of recognition-based systems for border control

The report comes at a time when the use of facial recognition is being widely debated. The EDPB and EDPS also called for a ban on facial recognition in public spaces in a joint opinion a few weeks ago that the Chair AI-Regulation summarized

The draft report will now be debated and voted on during the September plenary session.


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