The Interior Ministry is training an algorithm for its new ABIS system, an acronym in English that responds “Automated Biometric Identification System”. AI will help the police to identify the alleged perpetrators of crime. The system will only activate in the event of serious crimes and is being developed by French firm Thales.
The algorithm of this ABIS system is named Cogent and the operation was, very briefly, advanced by the newspaper country, It is not an AI model that uses real-time and remote facial recognition AI to directly identify all citizens walking in front of the cameras.
If this were to happen, the technology could be disabled by future artificial intelligence regulation, which is still being discussed by EU co-legislators.
Instead, it is “a scientific forensic system that allows the identification of persons detained or is held responsible for the commission of criminal offenses On the basis of prior information gathered by the legal obligation and the development of the missions entrusted to the state security forces and bodies”.
It is detailed in a document signed by the Deputy Director General of Information Systems and Communications for Security under the Ministry of the Interior. This is the response that the government has given in response to various questions that a data security expert collected a few days ago Business Insider Spain,
In essence, instead of being an AI that identifies every passerby in real time, it is a computer program that Spanish police can apply to recordings and photos of a potential crime scene. As such, it escapes future European AI regulation, although the internal assures that the draft wording of said text has been taken into account.
However, the responses provided by the government open up new questions.
Interior has not consulted prior to the Spanish Agency for Data Protection
The AI that will facilitate ABIS’s work will be trained from a database that began to build a few weeks ago. country i thought they would Nearly 5 million facial photographs “of detainees and suspects already on file”However other sources indicated to the newspaper that there were 5.6 million photographs of the 3.9 million people arrested.
In response to this, the internal thrust Implementation date “Unknown” “of new methodologies” and its launch “may be brought forward”, but also specifies that it has not requested the relevant prior consultation with the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD).
The ABIS system is not based on the 2018 Organic Law that replaced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but on another 2021 Organic Law on the Protection of Personal Data for the Purpose of Prevention or Investigation of Criminal Offenses. The law, by the way, by which Spain was approved because of the late transfer by Brussels.
internal highlights that in accordance with Articles 35 and 36 of the aforementioned Law of 2021, a data protection impact assessment has been carried out, and after assessing its results “There was no prior consultation with the AEPD.”
However, Article 36 of the referenced law specifies that the person in charge of the treatment shall consult the data protection authority before proceeding with the processing of the personal data that will form part of the new file, provided that an impact assessment has been carried out State that the treatment will have a “high degree of risk”.
Another caveat is that the treatment “may pose a high degree of risk to the rights and freedoms of the parties concerned”. so it is understood In an impact assessment carried out by the Ministry of the Interior, it was ruled out that the treatment is of high risk. For owners of faces that appear as “Signed” in over 5 million photographs.
It was Gonzalo Olivera, a member of the Spanish Association of Data Protection Delegates (AEDPD), who prepared the answers to the internal questions. Oliver is also surprised because the ABIS system is conceived on the basis of a 2011 ministerial order that has already been approved by the AEPD. “GDPR didn’t go into effect in 2011”Experts remember.
The use of biometric recognition systems by police is somewhat controversial in Europe: the European Parliament made a declaration against it, and bodies such as the European Committee for Data Protection or the Supervisor – which unites all data protection agencies – have already vetoed them. have called for the use of these technologies in public places.