The United Kingdom’s Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner is calling for public comment on plans to revise the country’s Surveillance Camera Code of Practice. AnyVision, pursuant to its ethical guidelines, is offering its advice – and taking a swipe at the likes of Clearview AI in the process.
The company has issued an open letter to the Commissioner in which CEO Avi Golan calls for “an honest and objective dialogue involving all stakeholders to draft fair and balanced regulation.” The letter goes on to make some more concrete recommendations.
At the top of the list is AnyVision’s call for an “Empty Database”. The company says that in deploying facial recognition software, police departments should build their biometric databases from the ground up, based on their own records of known criminals and persons of interest, rather than accept a software package that already includes biometric data.
“Some facial recognition solution providers have scraped billions of photos and identities of people from social networks, usually without their consent,” the company noted in a statement. The highest profile example of the photo-scraping vendors referenced is Clearview AI, which has provoked condemnation from various civil rights groups, scrutiny from regulatory bodies, and even lawsuits thanks to its practice of trawling the internet, including social media platforms, for face data that it then sold to police agencies and other organizations.
“Unfortunately, this method of facial recognition has justifiably angered privacy groups and data protection agencies around the globe and damaged public trust in the accuracy and reliability of facial recognition systems,” AnyVision said.
A facial recognition specialist itself, AnyVision has been vocal about the need for ethical guidelines concerning the technology’s use, having called on the National Institute of Standards and Technology to draft such guidelines earlier this year.
The Commissioner himself, Fraser Sampson – who was appointed to the role in March of this year – is a former police officer. Upon being appointed to the position, Sampson commented that was interested in “working with all partners in what is a fast-moving and challenging area of balancing the public interest considerations with the rights of individuals.”
As for AnyVision’s commentary on the proposed revisions to the surveillance code, the company also made recommendations revolving around the protection of citizens’ data and privacy, and requiring police forces to follow specific ‘operational due diligence’ procedures when making decisions about arrests using the aid of facial recognition technology.
September 8, 2021 – by Alex Perala