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All Out, Access Now and Reclaim Your Face has launched a campaign calling for the EU to ban automated recognition of gender and sexual orientation.

As a growing number of governments and companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) systems to identify individuals, concerns are being raised around how AI may presume gender identity and sexual orientation.

AI will function of, mostly, visible traits such as appearance, behaviourisms and how “male” or “female” your name may appear.

The default categories for AI fall into specific gender binaries and LGBTQ+ organisations are concerned this could enable discrimination. 

Many are worried real-time situations could be complicated by the presumptions of AI. For example, attending an airport and your appearance may not align with AI’s preconceived notion of “male” or “female”. 

It is likely it may not understand gender identities outside of these two categories which would make travelling and daily experiences increasingly difficult for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals.  

The European Commission is planning to propose a legal framework to regulate artificial intelligence systems.

For LGBTQ+ organisations and advocates, this has been noted as an opportunity to petition for the banning of automated recognition of gender and sexual orientation in the EU.

Senior campaigns manager at All Out, Yuri Guaiana, has warned the AI software could lead to “malicious” consequences if used for the wrong reasons. 

“With governments, police forces and corporations around the world increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict gender and sexual orientation by analyzing your name, how you look and sound, or how you move, queer people risk getting overly monitored, unfairly targeted, and discriminated against,” Guaiana said in a press statement.”

“In malicious hands, such as law enforcement in countries with anti-LGBT+ laws, these tools could lead to serious harm for LGBT+ people. This is not a problem of the future – it’s already happening, and we’ve got to stop it.”

Deputy Advocacy Director at Access Now, Carolyn Tackett, has called the AI “invasive” and “beyond dangerous”

“They are fundamentally incompatible with human rights. EU lawmakers must not miss this opportunity to course correct toward a safer, more free world for LGBT+ people by banning automated recognition of gender and sexual orientation,” Tackett said. 

The organisation have shared an online template of their request to the European Commission European Parliament, and Council of the European Union.

“A growing number of governments and companies use artificial intelligence (AI) systems to identify and track citizens and customers. But these systems aren’t designed with queer people in mind and instead reinforce existing biases and discrimination,” the addressed request reads.

It continued: “We call on you to include a ban of automated recognition of gender and sexual orientation in the upcoming regulatory framework on artificial intelligence systems. This is a step towards ensuring this technology will not be developed, deployed or used by public or private entities across the globe.”

The All Out petition currently has over 16,000 signatures and has a target goal of 30,000. 

You can sign the petition to support the Access Now and Reclaim Your Face campaign here