Facial Recognition & Biometric Surveillance: Document Pool

Despite significant risks that facial and biometric recognition infringes on EU data protection and fundamental rights, Member States across Europe are deploying these systems without proper checks and balances. This has happened in the absence of public debate on facial and biometric mass surveillance, how it amplifies existing inequalities and violations, and whether it fits with our conceptions of democracy, freedom, equality and social justice.

At least 15 European countries have experimented with highly intrusive facial and biometric recognition systems for mass surveillance. The use of these systems can infringe on people’s right to conduct their daily lives in privacy and with respect for their fundamental freedoms. It can prevent them from participating fully in democratic activities, violate their right to equality and much more.

The gathering and use of biometric data for remote identification purposes, for instance through deployment of facial recognition in public places, carries specific risks for fundamental rights.

European Commission, White Paper on Artificial Intelligence

This has happened in the absence of proper public debate on what facial recognition means for our societies, how it amplifies existing inequalities and violations, and whether it fits with our conceptions of democracy, freedom, equality and social justice.

Considering the high risk of abuse, discrimination and violation of fundamental rights to privacy and data protection, the EU and its Member States must develop a strong, privacy-protective approach to all forms of biometric surveillance. In this document pool we will be listing relevant articles and documents related to the issue of facial and biometric recognition. This will allow you to follow the developments of surveillance measures and regulatory actions in Europe.

EDRi’s analysis and recommendations
EDRi members’ actions and reporting
EDRi’s blogposts and press releases
Guidance from data protection authorities
Key dates and official documents
Other useful resources


EDRi’s analysis and recommendations

Ban Biometric Mass Surveillance: A set of fundamental rights demands for the European Commission and EU Member States (13.05.2020)


EDRi members’ actions and reporting


EDRi’s blogposts and press releases


Guidance from data protection authorities

Pan-European authorities:

National authorities:


Key dates* and official documents


Other useful resources


* subject to change