British Home Secretary Backs Police Use of Facial Recognition

“According to Javid, the new technology will help combat online child abuse and lower the amount of time that investigators need to spend looking at troubling images…”

British Home Secretary Backs Police Use of Facial Recognition

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has voiced his support for ongoing police trials of facial recognition technology. His statements were made during the launch of new a £1.76 million facial recognition program designed to improve the Child Abuse Image Database, which would reduce the time needed for a search from 24 hours to as little as 30 minutes.

According to Javid, the new technology will help combat online child abuse and lower the amount of time that investigators need to spend looking at troubling images.

“Different types of facial recognition technology is being trialled at the moment and I think it’s right [police] look at that,” said Javid.

Privacy advocates, on the other hand, were far more critical of the program, noting the lack of transparency and legislative oversight surrounding the technology. London’s Metropolitan Police credited facial recognition technology for three arrests earlier this year, but an independent academic study of that tech found that it was accurate in only one-fifth of cases. The police’s use of facial recognition is currently being challenged in UK courts

The UK’s facial recognition system is built with NEC technology. Javid went on to say that more Parliamentary legislation would be necessary as facial recognition technology becomes more widespread, which is likely to frustrate British police hoping for the deregulation of their surveillance capabilities

Sources: BBC, The Guardian

July 15, 2019 – by Eric Weiss