11 May, 2023

Svenja Hahn: Liberals make mark on AI Act

ALDE Party Vice-President Svenja Hahn MEP (FDP, DE) welcomed the ground-breaking adoption of the EU Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) on 11 May in the European Parliament Committees on Civil Liberties (LIBE) and of Consumer Protection (IMCO). This Union-wide regulatory framework put forward by the EU is pioneering work, paving the way for the world's first horizontal regulation on AI. The recent controversies around the new generative ChatGPT system show why this legislation is timely and much needed.

Commenting on the vote, Hahn, who is Shadow Rapporteur on the file in IMCO and a digital policy expert, said: "The Parliament's position on the AI Act bears a clear liberal handwriting and defies conservative surveillance wishes and left-wing fantasies of over-regulation. We have succeeded in finding a compromise that would regulate AI proportionately, protect civil rights, and boost innovation and the economy."

Moreover, she welcomed that the parliamentary position meets her call for a ban on biometric surveillance: "We know from facial recognition for surveillance in China that this application of technology has no place in a liberal democracy. It is a liberal win and a strong signal for the negotiations with the member states that Parliament stands up for civil rights and calls for a ban on biometric surveillance in public spaces."

She emphasised how liberals in the European Parliament are continuing to push forward on innovation: "With the Parliament's position on the AI Act, the EU can become the hotspot for research and innovation on artificial intelligence. For me, it was a priority that we significantly strengthen experimentation on AI in regulatory sandboxes. Following liberal pressure, Parliament is focusing on quality standards instead of bans or blanket high-risk classifications for general-purpose AI and generative AI like ChatGPT."

Hahn concluded: "The parliamentary position meets liberal demands in the crucial points. The compromise follows neither conservative nor leftist aberrations. This way we can make the EU fit for the digital age, strengthen the economy and innovation and defend our liberal society."

The report is expected to be put to a vote in the Plenary session of the European Parliament in June. Once endorsed by the MEPs, inter-institutional negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council can start.

Photo credit: © European Union 2023 - Source : EP

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