On the one hand, the European Commission seems to want to reassure the Dutch Senate by indicating that there is already a ban on the use of biometric data in European privacy law. However, current rules are less restrictive for law enforcement purposes. Some countries in the European Union have legislation to specify the more permissive approach for law enforcement, others have not. That is why the European Commission now finds it necessary to ensure a 'level playing field' by providing the same rules for law enforcement throughout the European Union. There is, of course, something to be said for this.
What is worrying, however, is that a few paragraphs later the European Commission lists all kinds of 'advantages' of biometric identification that are deeply questionable, to say the least. For example, they say that recognising emotions could be useful for blind people and neurodivergent people. It could warn people about falling asleep at the wheel. And it could check the age of gaming children to protect them from harmful content.
The idea is very noble, but as yet it appears that these types of applications are full of errors. The faces of people of color are poorly or not at all recognisedHere you can read more about facial recognition and racism by such systems and there is a lack of a credible scientific basis for being able to derive emotions from the external features of a facehere you can read why so much is going wrong with emotion recognition. Moreover, it is based on the assumption that all people express emotions in the same way, and facial expressions always mean the same thing, while this is not the case. As people from different cultures and environments we express our emotions differently, which is arguably part of the richness of being human. And is the use of biometric identification really what we want to use to protect our children?