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European Union proposes data strategy and rules for artificial intelligence

European Union proposes data strategy and rules for artificial intelligence
© Greg Nash

The European Union on Wednesday outlined the body's digital strategy and recommendations for regulating artificial intelligence and facial recognition.

"Today we are presenting our ambition to shape Europe's digital future," Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the body's executive commission, said in a statement.

"It covers everything from cybersecurity to critical infrastructures, digital education to skills, democracy to media. I want that digital Europe reflects the best of Europe – open, fair, diverse, democratic, and confident.”

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The digital strategy focuses on making Europe a leader in the data economy.

In a 35-page-long document, the European Commission discusses creating a "European Data Space," a shared data market between member nations with improved transparency. 

The Commission will propose a framework for data, which it says will emphasize sharing and personal data protection.

The digital strategy argues that more access to data will also help the European technology sector grow.

The European Commission also released a white paper on artificial intelligence. 

The paper centers on the need for a "trustworthy framework" for artificial intelligence, and suggests restrictions and checks on the use of the controversial technology.

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European authorities would be able to test and certify the data used by the algorithms driving artificial intelligence in the same way they check cosmetics, cars and toys under Wednesday's proposal.

While facial recognition technology, which scans faces to identify individuals, is broadly not permitted in Europe, the white paper calls for a debate on limited circumstances when it would be allowed.

There will now be a 12-week debate period during which tech companies and individual European governments can weigh in on the proposals.