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New AI rules could ban surveillance and scoring in the EU

The European Union is poised to ban artificial intelligence systems used for mass surveillance or for ranking social behaviour, while companies developing AI could face fines as high as 4% of global revenue if they fail to comply with new rules governing the software applications.

The EU is poised to ban AI surveillance and scoring, according to Bloomberg.  The EU is poised to ban AI surveillance and scoring, according to Bloomberg. 
The EU is poised to ban AI surveillance and scoring, according to Bloomberg.  (Unsplash)

The European Union is poised to ban artificial intelligence systems used for mass surveillance or for ranking social behaviour, while companies developing AI could face fines as high as 4% of global revenue if they fail to comply with new rules governing the software applications.

The rules are part of legislation set to be proposed by the European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, according to a draft of the proposal obtained by Bloomberg. The details could change before the commission unveils the measure, which is expected to be as soon as next week.

Read more: EU civil rights groups want ban on biometric surveillance ahead of new laws

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The EU proposal is expected to include the following rules:

European member states would be required to appoint assessment bodies to test, certify and inspect the systems, according to the document. Companies that develop prohibited AI services, or supply incorrect information or fail to cooperate with the national authorities could be fined up to a maximum of 4% of global revenue.

The rules won’t apply to AI systems used exclusively for military purposes, according to the document.

An EU spokesman declined to comment on the proposed rules. Politico reported on the draft document earlier.

Also read: Britain's GCHQ cyber spies embrace the AI revolution

As artificial intelligence has started to penetrate every part of society, from shopping suggestions and voice assistants to decisions around hiring, insurance and law enforcement, the EU wants to ensure technology deployed in Europe is transparent, has human oversight and meets its high standards for user privacy.

The proposed rules come as the EU tries to catch up to the U.S. and China on the roll-out of artificial intelligence and other advanced technology. The new requirements could hinder tech firms in the region from competing with foreign rivals if they are delayed in unveiling products because they first have to be tested.

Once proposed by the commission, the rules could still change following input from the European Parliament and the bloc’s member states before becoming law.

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