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Race to the bottom? Biometric technology, sports events and human rights in Europe

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On the 4th of February, the Winter Olympics will kick off in Beijing, China, against a dark backdrop of serious human rights concerns. International human rights associations have warned participants of serious human rights violations and security concerns linked to the games, calling the sports event an apparent attempt to “sportswash” away its abusive rights reputation. What’s more, there are serious security concerns about the ‘My2022’ app that participants are required to download and use. 

But research shows that China is not the only country ‘sportswashing’ its human rights reputation. 

Ahead of the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, organisers in Europe are also exploring the possibility of using intrusive technologies, such as biometric mass surveillance at major sporting events, in spite of its high misidentification rate and threats to human rights. 

On 4th February, join us for the online launch of a new Greens/EFA study on the implications of biometric mass surveillance, such as facial recognition software, on human rights in Europe. At this study launch, we will take a journey across Europe, from France, to the UK, to Romania, and explore how we can protect human rights in the face of dangerous and discriminatory technologies. 

This study builds on the success of the #ReclaimYourFace campaign that has taken Europe by storm in the last year, and takes a closer look at some of the risks associated with the use of these intrusive technologies.

Tune in on the 4th of February, 11h00-12h15, to discuss why we must act now for a European ban against biometric mass surveillance! 



  • Dr. Estelle de Marco, lead researcher for the Greens/EFA study on biometric surveillance and human rights, and a jurist specialising in the legal and ethical aspects relating to ICT, cybersecurity, fundamental rights and personal data protection. She holds a Ph.D. in private law and criminal sciences and a Master II degree in ICT law. 

  • Ella Jakubowska, Policy Advisor at EDRi, Ella leads EDRi's advocacy on biometric mass surveillance practices, as well as working on artificial intelligence and anti-discrimination, and how biometric technologies threaten rights to equality and non-discrimination. She holds an interdisciplinary MSc in Human Rights, with a research focus on feminist approaches to the sociology of Science & Technology. 

  • Gaëtan Goldberg is a tech & human rights adviser at the Defender of Rights, France. The Defender of Rights is an independent constitutional authority that oversees the defence of individual rights and freedoms in five areas defined by law: the rights of public service users, children’s rights, the observance of ethics by security personnel (police, private security services, etc.), anti-discrimination and the promotion of equality, as well as the guidance and protection of whistleblowers.


The event will be in English with French interpretation. If you would like to participate in this webinar, please register here.

What is biometric mass surveillance?
Biometric mass surveillance is the monitoring, tracking, and otherwise processing of the biometric data of individuals or groups in an indiscriminate or arbitrarily targeted manner. Biometric data includes highly sensitive data about our body or behavior. When used to scan everyone in public or publicly accessible spaces (a form of mass surveillance) biometric processing violates a wide range of fundamental rights. Biometric surveillance technologies have the potential to fundamentally change our societies by fuelling pervasive mass surveillance and discrimination.




Policy Paper
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Green jigsaw
© Udo Weber
Greening the streets  © Udo Weber

Responsible MEPs

Patrick Breyer
Patrick Breyer
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield

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