Leaked EU report shows plans for a pan-European facial recognition database

A leaked European Union report, obtained by The Intercept, confirms plan about an EU-wide network of national police facial recognition databases. The leaked document, drafted by 10 EU member states’ national police departments and led by Austria calls for new legislation that would enable Europol to exchange data from the centralised database with non-EU countries. The report comes as a part of the Prüm system discussions within which DNA, fingerprint, and vehicle registration databases are mutually accessible among EU countries. These calls are not new, but are still met with opposition. The advocacy director of Privacy International warned that a centralised facial recognition database is an ethical concern, as ‘some EU countries veer towards more authoritarian governments’. The move is criticised as facial recognition technology can still be inaccurate, especially for women and people of colour, and can enable pervasive or even illegal surveillance of citizens.