The European Commission’s Research Executive Agency is currently under fire as it continues to face pressure from judges from the European Court of Justice following their relation and funding of iBorderCtrl, an artificial intelligence technology that seeks to screen individuals travelling within the EU.
iBorderCtrl leverages artificial intelligence technology to zone in on the facial expressions of travellers during immigration checks. This lie detector technology of sorts is reportedly utilized to help determine whether travellers are being honest when under pressure from a series of questions, states Euractiv.
Individuals travelling or planning to travel were placed in front of a computer-animated border guard with the help of a webcam. iBorderCtrl, which uses artificial technology, will ask questions to travellers. It seeks to analyze the micro-gestures of people to gauge their honesty.
Following the analysis conducted by the AI-based lie detector technology, Reuters states that individuals that posed little to no risk are allowed to pass through the border. Meanwhile, passengers that posed a higher risk are to undergo additional checks.
According to Tech Crunch, a probe has been launched by European lawmaker Patrick Breyer in March 2019. Breyer is also the MEP of the Pirate Party Germany and a civil liberties activist.
Similar to the win Breyer obtained in the past, he is looking towards the release of documents in relation to the iBorderCtrl project, the pilot program supported by the European Commission. Reuters states the project has been launched in various countries, such as Greece, Hungary, and Latvia.
The project, which was launched in September 2016, only ran until August 2019.
In a statement, Breyer said, “The EU keeps having dangerous surveillance and control technology developed, and will even fund weapons research in the future, I hope for a landmark ruling that will allow public scrutiny and debate on unethical publicly research in the service of private profit interests.”
“With my transparency lawsuit, I want the court to rule once and for all that taxpayers, scientists, media, and Members of Parliament have a right to information on publicly funded research – especially in the case of pseudoscientific and Orwellian technology such as the ‘iBorderCtrl video lie detector.’”
Breyer is not the only one to call the technology oppressive. Ella Jakubowska from EDRi, a digital rights group, maintains that the pilot project is quite concerning, given that “human expressions are varied, diverse (especially for people with certain disabilities) and often culturally-contingent.”
Besides this, the technology only opens up opportunities for further discrimination, making for a dystopian and backward approach.
While the Commission was slated to release the documents in question in 2020, Tech Crunch states they have yet to surface or be released to the public.