by A Lily Bit
March 19, 2024
from ALilyBit Website








European Parliament Approves

'Artificial Intelligence Act,'

ushering in Mass Surveillance

in the Name of "Public Safety"...

In a move that rings with Orwellian undertones, the European Parliament has propelled the Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Act from its conceptual cradle in 2021 to the precipice of legal reality, transforming what was once a bulwark against the tide of biometric surveillance into its standard-bearer.

This legislation, which is poised to be unleashed upon the European populace this May following the Council of the EU's sanctification, stands as a testament not to the protection of individual freedoms, but rather to their calculated erosion, set to fully manifest by 2025.

The European Union, with a flourish of self-congratulation, has heralded the enactment of the AI Act as a milestone in legislative history, a protector of the common good.


They claim it as a masterpiece of regulation, designed to shepherd AI's vast potential while reining in the sprawling tentacles of law enforcement's identification systems.

According to the EU's glowing narrative, this act is the harbinger of safety, compliance, and a renaissance of innovation, promising to shield the bedrock of European values - fundamental rights, democracy, the rule of law, and environmental integrity - from the shadow of high-risk AI technologies.

Yet, beneath the surface of these grand declarations lurks a disconcerting reality.


This act, for all its ostensible safeguards, emboldens a framework that,

could readily morph into a surveillance apparatus, veiled under the guise of progress and innovation.

The EU's portrayal of the AI Act as a balancing act between innovation and individual freedoms glosses over the grim prospect of its dual use, as both,

  • a tool for advancement

  • an instrument for unprecedented levels of surveillance

This legislation raises the specter of a future where the watchful eyes of AI are interwoven into the fabric of daily life, under the banner of "public safety and order"...


It prompts us to question the true cost of innovation, particularly when it encroaches upon the sanctity of our personal freedoms and privacy.

Are we, as citizens of the digital age, prepared to navigate the murky waters of this new reality, where the lines between protection and surveillance are increasingly blurred...?

The European Union posits the AI Act as a cornerstone of its leadership in the digital domain, yet one cannot help but ponder if this leadership comes at the expense of the very ideals it seeks to protect.

The MEPs from the Pirate parties stand as vehement dissenters against this legislative current, casting their votes into the stormy seas of opposition.


Their critique hinges on the murky trilogue negotiations, a tripartite dialogue among,

  • the European Parliament

  • the European Commission

  • the Council of the EU,

...that, in their view, clouded the legislative process in opacity.

This lack of transparency, they argue, has not only diluted the original intent of the AI Act but has mutated it into a vehicle that sanctions the deployment of unreliable facial surveillance and recognition technologies across the public sphere.

MEP Patrick Breyer's words paint a dire picture of these amendments, implicating them as the keystones in the construction of a surveillance architecture underpinned by error-riddled technologies and dubious AI practices:

"The AI Act is a disappointment to me.


There is a clear need for rules on artificial intelligence.


However, the current form that has emerged from the negotiations with national governments falls short of what it should have done.


The national governments have inserted a section that de facto creates a legal framework for widespread snooping on people by biometric cameras.


Such cameras, equipped with artificial intelligence, are able to recognize people's faces and thus keep track of who has been where, when, and with whom.


The AI Act should have banned such an Orwellian tool, but instead it explicitly legalizes it.


That's an invasion of privacy that Pirates will never raise a hand for. It's a shame, because the AI Act has also its positives.


I'm for example glad that I was able to negotiate rules for so-called e-proctoring.


Programs that are used to check on students when they take exams online. If the artificial intelligence is poorly trained, it can evaluate, for example, noise from the hallway in a dorm as cheating.


Given the impact this can have on a young person's life, it's worth keeping an eye on and making sure the program works as it should.


Unfortunately, in the end, when it comes to the AI Act, the negatives outweigh the positives."

Patrick Breyer

Breyer's alarm extends to the broader arsenal of surveillance tools now at the beck and call of the EU government.


He casts these instruments - ranging from real-time surveillance of public places to racial classification systems powered by a brand of AI that flirts with pseudoscience - as the harbinger of an authoritarian tide, threatening to submerge the democratic foundations of Europe under the waters of a high-tech surveillance state.

Echoing Breyer's sentiments, MEP Marcel Kolaja of the Czech Pirate Party articulates a similar disillusionment with the act.


Kolaja denounces the legislative encroachments made by national governments within the act, perceiving them as the silent architects of a legal edifice that legitimizes mass surveillance on an unprecedented scale.

The AI Act, in his eyes, had a pivotal opportunity to relegate the dystopian specter of AI-powered biometric surveillance to the realm of forbidden technologies.


Instead, it has chosen to embrace this Orwellian tool with open arms, sanctioning the use of AI-equipped cameras that intrusively map out the intricate patterns of human movement and association.

Such is the landscape painted by these voices of dissent within the European Parliament.


They challenge us to peer beyond the facade of regulatory progress to question the principles that guide our march towards an increasingly digitized future.

In their critique lies a call to the citizenry of Europe and beyond:

to vigilantly guard the bastions of privacy and personal freedom against the encroaching shadows of surveillance...