UK Police Face Legal Challenges Over Use of Facial Recognition

Police authorities in the UK are being challenged over their use of public surveillance systems based on facial recognition technology.UK Police Face Legal Challenges Over Use of Facial Recognition

An organization called Big Brother Watch, working with politician Baroness Jenny Jones, has written letters to the heads of the Home Office and London’s Metropolitan Police Service asking them to either halt the use of such facial recognition systems, or to detail how they comply with the European Convention of Human Rights. The organization is threatening to pursue legal action if the authorities do not comply, and is currently crowdfunding the finances for such an effort.

Meanwhile, another civil rights organization, Liberty, is backing a resident of Cardiff who is demanding that the South Wales Police stop using facial recognition technology in public places. SWP scanned Cardiff surveillance feeds with facial recognition technology during a major soccer match last spring, and has since expanded its use of such technology.

The Cardiff resident, Ed Bridges, says he believes he has been scanned by this technology twice, objecting to it on principle as a violation of citizens’ privacy and a measure that will chill free speech.

The Metropolitan Police Service has not yet responded to Big Brother Watch, but the Home Office is currently working on a biometrics strategy to be published later this month, which is expected to detail oversight measures and other governance issues pertaining to the use of face-scanning surveillance technology.

Sources: The Guardian, The Telegraph

June 15, 2018 – by Alex Perala