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Italian Government Outlaws Facial Recognition Technology, Except to Fight Crime

Italy prohibited the use of facial recognition and ‘smart glasses’ on Monday as its Data Protection Agency issued a rebuke to two municipalities experimenting with the technologies.

Facial recognition systems using biometric data will not be allowed until a specific law is adopted or at least until the end of next year, the privacy watchdog said.

The exception is when such technologies play a role in judicial investigations or the fight against crime.

“The moratorium arises from the need to regulate eligibility requirements, conditions and guarantees relating to facial recognition, in compliance with the principle of proportionality,” the agency said in a statement.

Under European Union and Italian law, the processing of personal data by public bodies using video devices is generally allowed on public interest grounds and when linked to the activity of public authorities, it added.

However, municipalities that want to use them have to strike “urban security pacts” with central government representatives, it added.

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