South Wales Police plans to use facial recognition to scan for potential troublemakers at a major upcoming soccer match.
The final match of the UEFA Champions League will take place on June 3rd in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. As Motherboard reports, police authorities plan to use facial recognition to scan video surveillance feeds and match faces against a 500,000-person database of “persons of interest”. The technology will be deployed not only at the stadium, but at Cardiff’s main train station.
The initiative raises some concerns. As Motherboard points out, a recent NIST report emphasized the limitations of using facial recognition technology through low-quality cameras and on large crowds of non-cooperating subjects. At the same time, the move could raise privacy issues; as the BBC notes, 70,000 visitors are expected at the stadium on the day of match, and another 100,000 visitors to the city are expected to arrive at the train station that same day. Those individuals will be scanned without their consent, and without suspicion of wrongdoing. Nevertheless, responding to Motherboard via email, UK Government surveillance camera commissioner Tony Porter said his agency was working with South Wales Police to ensure that the deployment complies with legal regulations.
The move follows a recent effort by the Scottish Professional Football League to prevent hooliganism by implementing facial recognition technology at soccer stadiums, a project which the Scottish Government ultimately refused to finance.
April 27, 2017 – by Alex Perala