GovInfoSecurity.com reported that “European lawmakers and officials announced a compromise late Friday over a regulation on artificial intelligence in the works since 2021, making the trading bloc first in the world to comprehensively regulate the nascent technology.”  The December 8, 2023 report entitled “Europe Reaches Deal on AI Act, Marking a Regulatory First” (http://tinyurl.com/25j7ssc4) included these comments from Thierry Breton (European commissioner for internal market):

Europe has positioned itself as a pioneer, understanding the importance of its role as global standard setter,…

Here are other comments from the report:

European officials had no difficulty in agreeing that the regulation should ban certain AI applications such as social scoring or that regulations should take a tiered-based approach that treats high-risk systems, such as those that could influence the outcome of an election, with greater requirements for transparency and disclosure. The regulation also prohibits mass scraping of images from the internet to feed facial recognition algorithms.

Full details of the deal are not known, but a Parliament statement says the compromise bill will allow real-time biometric recognition in public with prior judicial authorization in cases of searches for victims of crime such as abduction or trafficking, the prevention of a terrorist threat or identification of an extreme criminal suspect. Whether to allow real-time recognition was a difference between Parliament and the European Council, in which parliamentarians favored stricter prohibitions. The compromise will limit retrospective facial recognition searches of video footage of serious crimes.

Parliament says it succeeded in imposing guardrails for foundation models – machine learning trained on vast amounts of data, including OpenAI’s GPT series of models. Developers of foundation models with high impact will have to conduct evaluations, assess and mitigate systemic risks, conduct adversarial testing, report to the commission on serious incidents, ensure cybersecurity and report on their energy efficiency, lawmakers said.

The deal has not been welcomed everywhere, and European Digital Rights has criticized it for what it says are loopholes in the compromise. AI developers can evade regulation, the group said, if they report their systems as falling below the EU’s high-risk threshold. EDRi also took issue with a ban on emotional recognition systems, saying a prohibition on them in workplaces and educational settings “illogically omits the most harmful uses of all: those in policing and border and migration contexts.”

What do you think about the EU’s decision?

First published at https://www.vogelitlaw.com/blog/what-do-you-think-of-the-new-eu-ai-act