• Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

The European Parliament has approved provisional AI legislation to prevent technology exploitation and protect fundamental rights as the continent moves closer to adopting rules into law.

Following three days of negotiations, the European Council, European Parliament, and European Commission reached a provisional agreement in December 2023, giving the AI Act the green light.

In an announcement, the Parliament stated that the AI regulation was supported by the majority of its members, with 523 votes in favor, 46 opposed, and 49 abstained.

The law is now subject to a "final lawyer-linguist check," and the Parliament stated that it must still be "formally-endorsed" by the EC. Countries in the bloc—which are expected to provide formal approval in May.

With the legislation set to go into effect early next year, European Commissioner for Internal Markets, Thierry Breton, stated that Europe "is now a global standard-setter in AI."

The AI Act includes provisions that will prohibit the use of biometrics based on sensitive characteristics, emotional and behavioral recognition, and predictive policing. However, the use of biometrics to investigate criminal offenses will be exempt.

Why Implement an AI Act?

Brando Benifei, co-rapporteur of the internal market committee at the European Parliament, described Europe's AI legislation as "the world's first binding law" on the technology, emphasizing the legislation's goals of combating discrimination, encouraging transparency, and expanding usage opportunities.

Benifei also praised the Parliament for the upcoming ban on "unacceptable AI practices," which is expected to protect worker and citizen rights.

The AI Act addresses the need for a comprehensive regulatory framework for AI in the European Union. It aims to harmonize rules across member states, protect consumer rights, foster innovation, establish accountability, and position the EU as a global leader in ethical AI governance. Overall, the Act seeks to balance innovation with the protection of fundamental rights and values while promoting trust and responsible AI development.