Ahead of the European Parliament’s vote on the AI Act in May, the European Union (EU) has a significant opportunity to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in order to protect and promote human rights, said Amnesty International in an open letter to Members of Parliament’s leading committees.
“The AI Act offers EU lawmakers an opportunity to put an end to the use of discriminatory and rights-violating artificial intelligence (AI) systems,” said Mher Hakobyan, Advocacy Advisor on Artificial Intelligence Regulation at Amnesty International.
“The EU must ban the use of discriminatory AI systems which disproportionately affect people from marginalized communities, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Such technologies profile people and communities, claiming to ‘predict’ crimes, or ‘identify’ people who supposedly pose a security risk, even leading to them being denied the right to asylum. EU lawmakers must not miss this opportunity to prohibit the use of certain AI-based practices and protect the rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers against harmful aspects of AI.
“Use of mass surveillance technologies, such as retrospective and live remote biometric identification tools must also be banned. The proposed law must also ban discriminatory social scoring systems that prevent people from accessing essential public and private services, such as child support benefits and education.
EU lawmakers must not miss this opportunity to prohibit the use of certain AI-based practices and protect the rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers against harmful aspects of AI.Mher Hakobyan, Advocacy Advisor on Artificial Intelligence Regulation
“The AI Act should also address the development of European technologies that are exported to third countries. Firstly, AI systems that are prohibited in Europe should not be allowed to be exported abroad. Secondly, permitted high-risk technologies that are exported must meet the same regulatory requirements as high-risk technologies sold in the EU.”
“Strong accountability and transparency measures must also be enforced when public and private bodies use AI systems in the EU. These actors must disclose their use of high-risk AI systems, and publish thorough human rights impact assessments. This is important, so that people harmed by AI systems can seek redress. The AI Act should establish a mechanism for this purpose.
The European Commission proposed legislation governing the use of artificial intelligence on 21 April 2021. The Council of the EU, representing EU national governments, adopted its position in December 2022. The European Parliament aims to finalize its position in spring this year, after which the two institutions, together with the European Commission, will have to agree on a common text for the Regulation.
Our latest open letter, written by our Secretary General, Agnès Callamard, urges members of the European Parliament to prohibit the use of certain AI systems that are incompatible with the human rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The letter was published on 26 April 2023.
Amnesty International, as part of a coalition of civil society organizations led by the European Digital Rights Network (EDRi), has been calling for EU artificial intelligence regulation that protects and promotes human rights.
On 19 April 2023, Amnesty International and coalition partners published an open statement calling on the European Parliament to protect human rights in the AI Act ahead of the coming vote.
Mher Hakobyan, Advocacy Advisor on Artificial Intelligence Regulation at Amnesty International, is available for interviews and briefings.
11 May: Planned committee vote on the AI Act