EU set to ratchet up AI fines to 6% of turnover - EU document

Foo Yun Chee
·1-min read

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Companies that use banned artificial intelligence applications in breach of EU rules could face fines as much as 6% of their global turnover, up from a previously proposed 4%, according to a revised European Commission document set to be announced on Wednesday.

The AI rules could help the European Union take the lead in regulating a technology that critics say has harmful social effects and can be used as a tool for social control by authoritarian governments, while supporters see it as an engine of economic growth.

The latest draft, first reported by French online news publication Contexte and reviewed by Reuters, said infringing companies can be fined up to 30 million euros or 6% of their worldwide revenue for using AI applications to materially distort people's behaviour, exploit the vulnerable or for using biased data in social scoring.

Providing incorrect or misleading information to authorities can lead to fines up to 2% of turnover.

The revised rules recognise the threat facial recognition poses to people's rights and freedom but said it can be used to search for missing children or criminals and in cases of terrorist attacks.

Its use should be authorised by a court or an independent administrative body and limited in time and space.

Civil and digital rights have in recent months urged authorities to ban biometric mass surveillance tools such as facial recognition systems, concerned about risks to privacy and fundamental rights and their abuse by repressive regimes.

The draft rules, which have to be thrashed out with EU countries and the European Parliament in the coming months before they can go into effect, will be announced by European technology chief Margaret Vestige on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by David Evans)