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New German government calls for European ban on biometric mass surveillance

  • 489 points
  • 8 hours ago

  • @giuliomagnifico
  • Created a post
  • • 110 comments

New German government calls for European ban on biometric mass surveillance


@m0zg 4 hours

Replying to @giuliomagnifico 🎙

There will 100% be generous carveouts for the government and the security state by the time this is signed. Bet money on it. I'm sure it'll be "for the children" or "against terrorism" or "against COVID" or whatever, but the capability will remain. No government has ever willingly relinquished a capability like this.

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@toss1 7 hours

Ha! I read "biometric mass surveillance" as some new remote sensing method to determine how much people weigh.

The actual article makes more sense & is a good thing.

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@ramsundhar20 6 hours

Biometric surveillance should get stopped. People deserve their privacy. EU should focus on greater human interests.

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@1cvmask 8 hours

Not a lawyer here but it seems that there are exceptions carved out:

In particular, we ask the Commission to prohibit, in law and in practice, indiscriminate or arbitrarily-targeted uses of biometrics which can lead to unlawful mass surveillance.

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So long as it is discriminate and non-arbitrary that can be ok then?

We have seen so many legal justifications and equivocations to laws from the surveillance state that I now assume legal counsel will always find a way to break the prima facie law.

German intelligence broke many German laws with the NSA, while Merkel virtue signaled and decried the NSA (comparing them to the Stasi) and Obama spying on her.

https://www.dw.com/en/edward-snowden-germany-a-primary-examp...

https://www.dw.com/en/danish-secret-service-helped-us-spy-on...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/17/merkel-compare...

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@wolframhempel 8 hours

I'm generally positively surprised by the coalition-agenda (Koalitionsvertrag) that was presented by the upcoming German government yesterday. Fairly centrist policies and a focus on modernization. There's a separate question about how much of it will actually be implemented, but the uncommon mix of three fairly different parties seems to have created a sensible equilibrium.

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@throwawaysea 6 hours

I don’t get why people want to ban facial recognition. There shouldn’t be an expectation of privacy in public spaces. And facial recognition is simply making a manual task police need to do a lot cheaper, helping them identify suspects who break the law. At least in the US, west coast cities definitely need greater surveillance of public spaces, with facial recognition (and other such tech), if they want to deal with the contagion of large raids on stores which began in SF and now has spread to LA. I feel like we can use this tech with some very simple controls like requiring reasonable suspicion of a crime, and keeping a human in the loop to verify matches, and make the best of this technology to help society. The group processing facial recognition matches can even be separate from the police force, essentially providing tips to police dispatch when they find a likely match.

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Yet scanning a QR code which uniquely identifies an individual to get into any venue is totally fine because we didn't update the source code yet and so it's not phoning home this week.

Well, if the source (of the scanner) is even legit, since the app stores provide no way to verify that anyway.

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@iso1631 8 hours

It's the automation that worries me. I'm not too concerned about proper companies using CCTV to record, as it's well managed and gets deleted unseen, unless something happens. I'm not too concerned about the police pulling those CCTV pictures to investigate a crime either.

Things like ring doorbells on the other hand should be cracked down - the number of times I see people in the UK posting pictures of public areas on facebook is shocking, but if they're just sat there, being deleted unless pulled for a proper reason, that's fine too.

What really does concern me is when things like image recognition come into the picture. A corporation can't montior me by paying someone to sift through CCTV pictures. They can montior me by using automation to process everything though.

This is a good thing, how successful it is remains to be seen.

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Maybe I missed it, but to what level is BMS happening already? Mind you, I understand the issue / problem. What I'm trying to gauge is the likelihood of a ban based on how embedded the behaviour is already.

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@nkmnz 8 hours

Thanks to FDP and Green Party —- you cannot trust Social Democrats on such issues at all!

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@siruncledrew 7 hours

It’s not just governments across Europe, but this petition also calls for the ban of companies doing it too.

I wonder how the “watchdog” piece of this would work, practically speaking, since nowadays almost anywhere with a decent camera can implement some kind of facial recognition or tracking, and cameras are ubiquitous.

Maybe places will find a workaround like just export the video to a different geographic zone datacenter to analyze it.

I don’t see all governments or businesses agreeing to this because: 1. They wouldn’t want to, 2. It would be hard to prevent if the ways to do it still exist, 3. The “big enough” places will just do it anyway in secret.

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@cyberpunk 6 hours

Meanwhile from 2022 onwards all entry to the EU from non-eu citizens will require Fingerprints and Facial scans to be saved [0].

One rule for us, one for the rest, it seems.

(For the record, I am absolutely against this, having recently lost my EU citizenship).

0: https://ees.secunet.com/en/about-entry-exit-system/

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I just hope that the new balance of power in Germany will energize Europe to take concrete next steps towards an altenative way of organizing digital life.

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@71a54xd 7 hours

I'm generally confused as to how the EU seemingly gets things right when it comes to privacy like banning biometric surveillance yet seems completely hell bent on creating a surveillance state in other areas (like banning encryption outright [0] or creating outsized penalties for wrong-speak [1]).

Of course the US just builds things like this for political gain and taxation.

0 - https://mailbox.org/en/post/it-companies-warn-eu-plans-to-ba... 1 - https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_...

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@newtoy 1 hour

Where this all becomes problematic is either government or corporate entities using it to manipulate and punish individuals for being individuals but not harmful to others. Controlling whether you can even get water food and shelter and imprisonment for not promoting or for demoting their own world view.

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>Since 2020, the Reclaim Your Face coalition has actively put pressure on decision-makers by uncovering surveillance, publishing research reports, and mobilising people for a society free from harmful technologies such as facial recognition in publicly-accessible spaces.

Emphasis mine. This won't do much, and all the surveillance data will be shipped to China anyway. You're already in their database somewhere and they know more about you than the rest of the West combined.

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@macawfish 5 hours

How can they stop 5G?

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@binarysneaker 7 hours

I guess now that the UK is no longer part of the EU, this has a higher probability of happening.

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@newtoy 1 hour

Biometric mass surveillance is a problem because bad actors in government and corporations have and will use it to the individual’s detriment. People are prevented or made to endure hardship at acquiring food, water, shelter and clothing, imprisoned and punished, for nothing more than not being part of the party holding power.

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