My Europe to me: “The EU must control AI to avoid falling into surveillance society”

Ahead of the Future Conference in Europe, where European Union (EU) citizens are invited to envision and build the future of the bloc, Slate is launching the “My Europe to Me” project. Purpose: To give a voice to young French and Europeans, to identify their expectations and demands and to give their feedback to experts and members of Parliament.

Is the European Union becoming the police of the Internet? Whatever the case, this is the ambition displayed by the European Commission over the years. Among the Digital Market Act introduced last March, which would force Apple and Google to expose their smartphone ecosystems to competitors and copyright guidelines, the European Union seems to want to compensate for the absence of European GAFA, these are mostly American. Or Chinese, set the rules that govern the web

A policy that delights Marceau Peret, a 24-year-old graduate student in Paris geopolitics. Young man “The EU discovered a bit late”Be biased “A civic service at home in Europe”And considers that the European level only “Which could meet some of the biggest global challenges, such as cyber defense.”.

Interested in protecting digital issues and online privacy, Marseille welcomed the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, which gave European citizens more control over their data usage. “It’s something unique in the world, it’s a very good thing.”Points the student towards the slate.

If the EU’s influence on the Internet exceeds its limits, Marseille hopes that one “True World Internet Rule” For “Set general rules with which we all agree”. After all, students are concerned about government use of artificial intelligence (AI) as part of public surveillance policies, such as in China. It follows this request with the EU:

“I want the EU to make rules to control AI and avoid falling into a surveillance society.”

Marceau Peret, student

To understand European policy on online regulation, and what the EU can do to better protect its citizens, Slate spoke with Patrick Brayer, German MEP of the Pirate Party.

Slate.fr: What is unique about the EU when it comes to personal data online?

Patrick Breyer: Overall, the concept of fundamental rights guaranteed by EU law applies online and offline. We have the right to freedom of expression, but we also have the right to privacy in real life and on the web.

The EU is taking action on a number of issues: I can cite the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which strengthens the intellectual property rights worldwide, but also reforms personal copy online and guarantees neutrality from the web. The EU has thus created rules that guarantee the same level of connectivity for everyone.

But there are also examples of bad laws, such as the control of online terrorism.

Precisely, one of the great advances of recent years is the GDPR 7 Is it a success?

Yes, this is a huge success for the EU. GDPR has become a standard for data protection. It was an unprecedented rule, copied in other parts of the world. This rule ensures that our data will not be shared without our consent and is protected against abuse.

One of the most controversial provisions is the transfer of data to other countries, such as the United States. GDPR also protects us from this, and it means that Facebook, for example, has servers on European soil. This regulation is a real success, especially thanks to the European Parliament which has fought for a strong and ambitious text.

“We fight against the use of AI to identify people or their attitudes in public spaces.”

Patrick Breyer, German Pirate Party MEP

The EU is trying to position itself as a web police. Does the strategy work?

Overall, the EU is well established, even as it is our duty to lead the online digital world to adapt to our rights and our values. To censor the internet, using big companies for profit … we have to answer this problem. And I think fundamental rights are pretty well protected here.

The question remains as to what EU governments are doing to tackle digital problems and there it is not always positive. We must fight this trend; We see, for example, that some governments want to use mass surveillance equipment …

Precisely, Marseille wants the EU to do more to control the AI. Do you agree

Yes. In reality, these artificial intelligence systems are often just nasty, stupid statistics; They are used to make decisions or make proposals. But due to some biases, AI can discriminate, especially for marginalized groups. Something has to be done about it.

We also fight against the use of AI to identify people in public spaces, or their attitudes. This is done in China, where the police are directly alerted. It can affect civil liberties, where people are kept under constant surveillance and are reluctant to discuss certain issues or act in certain ways. This is why we are fighting for a ban on biometric surveillance to be included in future AI directives.

Where can the EU improve its operations?

Much remains to be done about digital participation in democratic decision-making. The Internet gives us many opportunities to better inform and engage our citizens. We must use this tool, many discussions are still taking place behind closed doors at the European level. For example, the draft law would make it easier to allow citizens to comment.

There is a big difference between the 27 EU countries in terms of access to a specific Internet connection. Is the EU doing enough in this regard?

I think the EU is doing a lot on the subject; By law, citizens have the right to fast internet access. But the implementation of this right by the member states is inadequate. In some places, you may have to rely on 4G because landlines aren’t fast enough. There are issues with roaming rights, which have been abolished in the EU, but not well implemented in some member states.

You too can make your voice heard at future conferences in Europe! Register on the Dedicated Platform and participate in the discussion. Let people know what Europe you want to live in and help shape our future!

The project was co-financed by the European Union under the European Parliament’s Grants for Communications Program. Was not involved in the preparation of the European Parliament and is in no way responsible or bound by the information, data or opinions expressed within the framework of the project for which only the author, the interviewee, the publisher or the broadcaster of the event are liable under applicable law. The European Parliament cannot be held responsible for any direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the project.

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