EDRi and Reclaim Your Face campaign recognised as Europe AI Policy leaders

EDRi and the Reclaim Your Face coalition were recognised as the Europe AI Policy Leader in Civil Society for our groundbreaking work as a coalition to advocate for a world free from biometric mass surveillance.

By EDRi (guest author) · May 27, 2024

Last week, on 21 May 2024, EDRi was awarded as the Europe AI Policy Leader in Civil Society by the Center for AI and Digital Policy Europe. The honour was specifically bestowed upon EDRi’s Reclaim Your Face campaign, which started in November 2020. Through this campaign, we called for for an end to biometric mass surveillance practices in Europe, including through the EU Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act.

EDRi's Andreea Belu and Ella Jakubowska receiving the award at CPDP
EDRi’s Ella Jakubowska and Andreea Belu receiving the Europe AI Policy Leader award at CPDP 2024 opening ceremony.

This honour is a recognition of the work done by the coalition – over 110 organisations across 25 EU countries, hundreds of volunteers, and many actions taken by hundreds of thousands of supporters all over Europe. The award was presented in Brussels during the opening ceremony of CPDP Conference, and received on behalf of the coalition by Ella Jakubowska and Andreea Belu of the EDRi Brussels Office.

Another recognition for the Reclaim Your Face campaign: Digital civic engagement honourary award

This honour adds to a previous recognition of the campaign’s achievements since it started. In December 2022, the Reclaim Your Face coalition received the honorary award for Digital civic engagement – a cooperation between LOAD e.V., the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Thomas Dehler Foundation. The coalition was represented at the ceremony in Munich, Germany by Andreea Belu (EDRi Brussels office), Matthias Marx (Chaos Computer Club), and Konstantin Macher (formerly from Digitalcourage).

Andreea Belu (EDRi Brussels office – centre), Matthias Marx (Chaos Computer Club – left), and Konstantin Macher (formerly from Digitalcourage- right) receiving the award in Munich, Germany in December 2022.

What’s next for our fight against biometric mass surveillance?

We’re grateful for the recognition of our work, and the honour of being able to represent over a million people across the EU who want a ban on intrusive surveillance practices. Despite the disappointment of the final Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, which is full of holes when it comes to bans on different forms of biometric mass surveillance (BMS), we’re looking to the future. There are some silver linings in the legislation which give us opportunities to oppose BMS in public spaces and to push for better protection of people’s sensitive biometric data. Read more about how we’re planning to continue fighting for a world free from biometric mass surveillance. You can also look at our living legal and practical guide for civil society organisations, academics, communities and activists, which charts a human rights-based approach for how to keep resisting BMS practices now and in the future.