EDRi urges Portugal government to oppose proposed video surveillance law
EDRi member and Reclaim Your Face lead organisation D3 (Defesa Dos Direitos Digitais) are raising awareness of how the Portuguese government’s new proposed video surveillance and facial recognition law – which Ministers are trying to rush through the Parliament - amounts to illiberal biometric mass surveillance. It also endangers the very foundations of democracy on which the Republic of Portugal rests.
Whilst the European Parliament has been fighting bravely for the rights of everyone in the EU to exist freely and with dignity in publicly accessible spaces, the government of Portugal is attempting to push their country in the opposite direction: one of digital authoritarianism.
EDRi member and Reclaim Your Face lead organisation D3 (Defesa Dos Direitos Digitais) are raising awareness of how the Portuguese government’s new proposed video surveillance and facial recognition law – which Ministers are trying to rush through the Parliament – amounts to illiberal biometric mass surveillance. It also endangers the very foundations of democracy on which the Republic of Portugal rests.
Eerily reminiscent of the failed attempts by the Serbian government just two months ago to rush in a biometric mass surveillance law, which we publicly opposed, Portugal now asked its Parliament to approve a law in a shocking absence of democratic scrutiny. Just two weeks before the national Assembly will be dissolved, the government wants Parliamentarians to quickly approve a law, without public consultation or evidence, which would enable and encourage widespread biometric mass surveillance – even though we have shown just how harmful these practices are.
To support D3 in the fight against biometric mass surveillance practices that treat each and every person as a potential criminal, EDRi sent a letter to representatives of Portugal’s main political parties urging them to reject this dystopian law, which you can find below.
You can also read D3’s thread (in Portuguese) explaining further why this proposed law is such a problem. While you’re here, you can help us show EU leaders that we do not support the use of technologies that turn our publicly accessible spaces into a permanent police line-up by signing our citizens’ initiative to Reclaim Your Face!
Sign the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)
If you're an EU citizen, you can help us change EU laws by signing the official #ReclaimYourFace initiative to ban biometric mass surveillance practices:
This ECI is open to all EU citizens, even if you currently live outside the EU (although there are special rules for Germany). Unfortunately if you are not an EU national, the EU’s official rules say that you cannot sign. Check https://reclaimyourface.eu other ways than non-EU citizens can help the cause.
Note to German citizens: It is possible to sign our ECI petition if you live outside the EU, but German rules mean that for German citizens specifically, your signature will only be valid if you are registered with your current permanent residence at the relevant German diplomatic representation. If you are not registered, then unfortunately your signature will not be counted. You can read more information about the rules. This rule does not apply to citizens of any other EU country.
Legally, if we reach 1 million signatures (with minimum thresholds met in at least 7 EU countries) then the European Commission must meet with us to discuss our proposal for a new law. They must then issue a formal communication (a piece of EU soft law) explaining why they are or are not acting on our proposal, and they may also ask the European Parliament to open a debate on the topic. For these reasons, a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is a powerful tool for getting our topic onto the EU agenda and showing wide public support for banning biometric mass surveillance practices.