Sat, Aug
57 New Articles

The Impact of Facial Recognition Systems on Democracy

The Impact of Facial Recognition Systems on Democracy

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Facial recognition system is considered an artificial intelligence solution empowered by a camera system, which can identify persons viewed based on image data stored in a related data base. Such systems have already been implemented around the globe in many countries and generally faced severe criticism, especially in Western democracies. Naturally, facial recognition systems have the capability of helping to prevent terrorist attacks and similar severe crimes an detect suspects and other persons of interest. In practice, however, such systems often provide inaccurate or biased results.

With regard to the above, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 6 October 2021, banning the public use of facial recognition systems for law enforcement purposes. Similarly, the European Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Supervisor adopted a joint opinion on 21 June 2021 calling for ban on AI for automated recognition in public spaces.

The Draft EU AI Regulation also generally prohibits the use of ‘real-time’ remote biometric identification systems for the purpose of law enforcement with certain exceptions (including the targeted search for specific potential victims of crime, the prevention of terrorist attacks or similar threats, detection, localization, identification or prosecution of perpetrators of certain serious crimes). It is highlighted, however, that currently such systems do not certainly seem capable of serving law enforcement purposes effectively especially due to the risks associated with algorithmic bias, effects on democracy and non-compliance with data protection requirements.

The data protection authority and court practice in Europe also have such fears about facial recognition systems and their effects on democratic societies. The Italian data protection authority, for example, imposed a data protection fine of EUR 20 million on Clearview AI, a US company offering facial recognition solutions. A number of data protection authorities and courts in Europe also imposed a ban or a similar fine on facial recognition systems implemented in schools. The Hungarian data protection authority also reviewed the CCTV operation of a local municipality in Hungary, which was allegedly empowered by facial recognition capabilities, however, it turned out that such function of the system was not activated.

In line with the above, facial recognition systems currently do not seem to be capable of serving law enforcement purposes without serious risks of bias, opacity and non-compliance with privacy and data protection laws.

By Daniel Necz, Senior Associate, DLA Piper

Hungary Knowledge Partner

Nagy és Trócsányi was founded in 1991, turned into limited professional partnership (in Hungarian: ügyvédi iroda) in 1992, with the aim of offering sophisticated legal services. The firm continues to seek excellence in a comprehensive and modern practice, which spans international commercial and business law. 

The firm’s lawyers provide clients with advice and representation in an active, thoughtful and ethical manner, with a real understanding of clients‘ business needs and the markets in which they operate.

The firm is one of the largest home-grown independent law firms in Hungary. Currently Nagy és Trócsányi has 26 lawyers out of which there are 8 active partners. All partners are equity partners.

Nagy és Trócsányi is a legal entity and registered with the Budapest Bar Association. All lawyers of the Budapest office are either members of, or registered as clerks with, the Budapest Bar Association. Several of the firm’s lawyers are admitted attorneys or registered as legal consultants in New York.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. 

Our activity focuses on the following practice areas: M&A, company law, litigation and dispute resolution, real estate law, banking and finance, project financing, insolvency and restructuring, venture capital investment, taxation, competition, utilities, energy, media and telecommunication.

Nagy és Trócsányi is the exclusive member firm in Hungary for Lex Mundi – the world’s leading network of independent law firms with in-depth experience in 100+countries worldwide.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. Among our key clients are: OTP Bank, Sberbank, Erste Bank, Scania, KS ORKA, Mannvit, DAF Trucks, Booking.com, Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest, Hungarian Post Pte Ltd, Hiventures, Strabag, CPI Hungary, Givaudan, Marks & Spencer, CBA.

Firm's website.

Our Latest Issue