Text press release campaign Ban Facial Recognition Europe, by Paolo Cirio. 2021
Ban Facial Recognition Europe campaign updates.
Press Release, 20th March 2021.

For the campaign #BanFacialRecognitionEU, activist Paolo Cirio is delivering a package to various European institutions containing a legal complaint with evidence of violations and a petition with over 50000 signatures supporting the ban on Facial Recognition technology in Europe. All about the campaign: https://Ban-Facial-Recognition.EU

This campaign was initiated by the activist Paolo Cirio in cooperation with La Quadrature du Net, We Sign It, and thanks to the research from the European Digital Rights advocacy group (EDRi).

Thank you for all of your support and your signatures! This petition collected over 52000 signatures and was translated into 5 languages. This is an astonishing achievement and we want to make your voice count. We are taking this fight against Facial Recognition to the next level.

Paolo Cirio assembled a legal complaint and delivered it to EU institutions. Read the legal claims of the complaint against using Facial Recognition technology for identification and profiling of European citizens.

This symbolic legal complaint is based on actual violations of the usage of Facial Recognition technology. The implementation of Facial Recognition technology in Europe has resulted in serious abuses of fundamental rights, a lack of accountability, as well as the misspending of public funds for several years. European institutions are responsible for not enacting a clear legal framework concerning Facial Recognition technology and not enforcing actions for violations of existing regulations. Read the cases of violation here.

Watch the video statement by Paolo Cirio
about Facial Recognition and download material from the press kit about the symbolic action of the delivery of the package with the legal complaint to the European Commission at the departments CONNECT and JUST, to the Council of Europe at the Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence, and to the European Data Protection Supervisor.

The fight continues so please sign the latest petition #ReclaimYourFace by EDRi:
This new challenge is fundamental in bringing your voice directly to the European Commission with this European Citizens’ Initiative. This is a legally-recognized initiative and not a regular petition, which is why it is so important to sign it even if you have already signed another petition and also why it asks for your personal data. The #ReclaimYourFace campaign aims to ban not only Facial Recognition but all biometric technology that enables mass surveillance and discrimination. Your signature on this initiative is about the future of democracy in Europe, which is put in danger by this invasive technology.

Paolo Cirio initially promoted the Ban of Facial Recognition in Europe through the staging of a radical action in France. In this art project titled Capture, Cirio used Facial Recognition for simulating the identification of over 4000 French police officers in order to demonstrate the danger of this technology and the lack of accountability of the French police officers mis-using it. This provocation triggered the reactions of the Interior Minister of France and the police unions, which then forced censorship of the artwork, despite it being celebrated by French citizens and the international press. Read more about the Capture saga here.

As activist Paolo Cirio runs other campaigns on the regulation of technology: for the Right to Be Forgotten in the United States with the Right to Remove and in Socially he promoted oversight over the patenting of technology that enables social manipulation. At the time these campaigns seemed impossible challenges, and yet Content Moderation in the US is finally now largely accepted and even Targeting Advertising has been reduced dramatically. Thus, banning Facial Recognition in Europe and worldwide is also possible, if not inevitable.

Ultimately, Paolo Cirio has created a new artwork called Bodily that addresses biometric technology and body scanners. With a thermal camera and faulty artificial intelligence, this video installation ironically diagnoses the health and mental conditions of the viewers. Bodily raises awareness on the lack of regulation of the subsequent expansion of biometric technology during the current Covid pandemic.

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