ECF Statement on the EU Artificial Intelligence Act

18 April 2023 | Advocacy, Artificial Intelligence

The EU Artificial Intelligence Act must safeguard Civic Space, Fundamental Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

Artificial intelligence and the EU AI legislation will have a significant impact on civil society and the realisation of the common values and principles of the EU. We would like to draw your attention to the fundamental rights, democracy, and rule of law risks and concerns that we have regarding the current proposal of the EU AI Act. Through our statement, the European Civic Forum  wants to express these concerns in the proposal of the AI Act and the outcome of the vote. We also urge Members of the European Parliament to carefully consider our statement and the necessary changes to adopt in the draft proposal.

The European Civic Forum calls on the European Parliament to ensure that the AI Act is coherent with the values, aims, and objectives of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights provisions.

 To do so the Parliament must ensure the following in the upcoming AI Act vote:

  • Horizontal and mainstreamed accessibility requirements for all AI systems;
  • Environmental and resource consumption impact assessment and transparency requirements for all AI systems;
  • That the classification process for high-risk AI systems prioritises legal certainty and provides no loophole for providers to circumvent legal scrutiny;
  • That EU-based AI providers whose systems impact non-EU nationals are subject to the same requirements as those inside the EU;
  • A full ban on the use and development of remote biometric identification, including “real time” and “post” use, emotion recognition, biometric categorisation and predictive policing systems used by all actors, without exception;
  • Prohibitions on AI in migration contexts to make individual risk assessments and profiles based on personal and sensitive data, and predictive analytic systems when used to interdict, curtail and prevent migration;
  • Access to justice, remedy and redress and the possibility for complaint for individuals or groups whose rights have been infringed by the use of AI systems;
  • To include an obligation on users to conduct and publish a fundamental rights impact assessment before each deployment of a high-risk AI system;
  • Civil society’s participation and open, transparent, and regular dialogue on every stage of the AIA both at national and EU levels.

As representatives of the wider European civil society, we believe that it is crucial for MEPs to take into account the views and interests of civic actors and the common good. The vote ahead of the two committees working on the Act (IMCO and LIBE) can ensure that the development and use of AI systems in Europe are rights-driven, transparent, accountable, and in line with international human rights standards and European core values and principles.