Open letter to EU AI Act negotiators: Do not trade away our rights!

70 civil society groups and 34 expert individuals sent an urgent letter to the Council of EU Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament to urge them «Do not trade away our rights!» in the final trilogue (negotiation) on the landmark Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act.

As the supposedly final negotiation on the EU’s landmark Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act drags on, the undersigned civil society coalition calls on lawmakers to unequivocally reject attempts to legalise dangerous and discriminatory police AI.

EU lawmakers are being pressured by governments and security industry lobbyists to trade away our fundamental rights and freedoms. The Parliament’s position on prohibitions is backed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Data Protection Supervisor and Board, networks of national human rights institutions and equality bodies, academics and other experts.

No AI Act deal can be worth legitimising digital tools of oppression. EU Member States are pushing extremist demands for police to be able to discriminate against the general public including on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, religion and political views through predictive policing and biometric categorisation systems. Not only is this a deeply dystopian premise, but we also know that these tools are ineffective at keeping us safe.

The same goes for emotion recognition technologies like AI ‘lie-detectors’, the use of which EU governments are trying to preserve for use in policing and migration contexts. These technologies are rooted in eugenic, racist and ableist premises, and have been widely discredited by academics.

EU Member States are also pushing to allow mass biometric surveillance in public spaces and most forms of predictive policing; to introduce dangerous loopholes such as blanket national security exemptions; to allow banned AI systems to be exported outside the EU; and to exempt police and migration uses of AI from transparency and accountability rules.

European and international human rights laws are clear that people must be able to live with freedom and dignity. The proposals from the Council would give police a green light to use AI tools that are inherently discriminatory, that enable mass surveillance and that undermine the core of our rights and rule of law.

See full list of list of signatories here.