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Italy bans use of Facial Technology

The tech’s use has been restricted to fighting crime

On Monday, Italy banned the use of facial recognition tech and “smart glasses” until a specific law is adopted or at least until the end of the next year. The exception to this ban is when these technologies play a role in judicial processes or help fight crime, according to Reuters

Under European Union and Italian law, the processing of personal data using video is generally allowed when linked to the activity of public authorities, said the Data Protection Agency. Facial recognition systems extract information from images and relay the information back to the user. The technology has been used by police authorities around the world but has led to backlash from human rights groups who argue that it is flawed and inherently racially biased, according to E&T Magazine, a science, technology, and engineering publication.

The country’s Data Protection Agency issued a rebuke to two Italian municipalities experimenting with the technology. In the southern city of Lecce, authorities were set to use facial recognition technology. The municipality was ordered to provide a description of the systems, their purpose, and a list of databases accessed by the technology, according to Reuters. The agency also targeted the Tuscan city of Arezzo, where local authorities were about to be equipped with infrared “smart glasses” to recognize car plates.

Asia London Palomba

Asia London Palomba is a trilingual freelance journalist from Rome, Italy, currently pursuing her master's in journalism at New York University (NYU). In the past, her work on culture, travel, and history has been published in The Boston Globe, Atlas Obscura, and The Christian Science Monitor. In her free time, Asia enjoys traveling home to Italy to spend time with family and friends, drinking Hugo Spritzes, and making her nonna's homemade cavatelli. 

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