Press release

AI Act drama: Illegitimate deals, irresponsible negotiation hours, and unacceptable pressure games

After a negotiation marathon on its Artificial Intelligence Act, EU Member States put the screws on the EU Parliament to put national security and industry interests before the protection of people’s rights. Having been negotiating for over 20 hours, sleep-deprived EU lawmakers were pressuring each other today to close an unacceptable deal – on some of the most fundamental implications of AI on people and society.
Photo: Thierry Breton/Twitter

AI used to categorize people according to their sexual preference, AI systems that claim they can recognize the emotions of asylum seekers, AI that retrospectively recognizes the faces of protesters in public space – apparently, EU Member States do not shy away from enabling and promoting the use of the most misguided systems one can imagine. The EU Parliament has taken a clear stance that such systems are not compatible with one of the main purposes of the AI Act – the protection of fundamental rights – and thus must be banned. Member States, however, pursue a different agenda: They are now exerting extreme pressure on the parliament to legitimize the use of such AI systems.

Angela Müller, Head of Policy & Advocacy AlgorithmWatch

«Members of the EU Parliament have a mandate to fulfil: People from across Europe elected them to protect their rights and interests. Going behind people’s back and accepting a deal that will set the stage for a widespread use of AI systems in most sensitive areas is unacceptable.»

Angela Müller, Head of Policy & Advocacy AlgorithmWatch

What is more, all of this happens after an afternoon, a night, and a morning of negotiations, which clearly left everyone in the room in a state where one should not make any decisions on any legal norms, let alone on norms that are intended to protect people against some of the most dramatic implications that AI systems can have on them. Negotiations will resume tomorrow morning, and until then it is up to civil society to remind Members of the European Parliament of their responsibility to keep standing up for our rights – and to demand negotiation conditions that allow for this.