Ban on Biometric Mass Surveillance Practices

The „Reclaim Your Face“ alliance, which calls for a ban on biometric facial recognition in public space, has been registered as an official European Citizens‘ Initiative. One of the goals is to establish transparency: „Facial recognition is being used across Europe in secretive and discriminatory ways. What tools are being used? Is there evidence that it’s really needed? What is it motivated by?“ (Website RYF) Another one is to draw red lines: „Some uses of biometrics are just too harmful: unfair treatment based on how we look, no right to express ourselves freely, being treated as a potential criminal suspect.“ (Website RYF) Finally, the initiative demands respect for human: „Biometric mass surveillance is designed to manipulate our behaviour and control what we do. The general public are being used as experimental test subjects. We demand respect for our free will and free choices.“ (Website RYF) In recent years, the use of facial recognition techniques have been the subject of critical reflection, such as in the paper „The Uncanny Return of Physiognomy“ presented at the 2018 AAAI Spring Symposia or in the chapter „Some Ethical and Legal Issues of FRT“ published in the book „Face Recognition Technology“ in 2020. More information at

Fig.: A surveillance camera