Police in the UK are ramping up their use of facial recognition technology in the fight against crime, with London’s Metropolitan Police announcing this week that a live trial of the technology in the city’s east end had led to the result of three individuals wanted for violent crimes.
The deployment caused some consternation among privacy advocates. Police had erected signs in the test area informing the public that face-scanning cameras were bring used, but nevertheless asked an individual to show his identification when he covered the bottom of his face with his sweater in a seeming attempt to avoid being scanned. The man yelled at an officer and for that received a fine; afterward, the director of a civil rights organization that has publicly challenged police authorities’ use of facial recognition technology, commented that the individual “was exercising his rights” in avoiding the biometric camera system.
The trial deployment comes after Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick decried the “complex regulatory system” that she said was hamstringing police efforts to fight back against violent criminals in an interview with The Guardian last autumn.
London’s Met Police are using the same NEC-developed facial recognition technology that has also seen live public deployments by South Wales Police. An academic study on those deployments published in December indicated that the facial recognition technology was not sufficiently accurate to automatically identify criminal suspects on its own but could be effective as an aide to more traditional policing methods, a conclusion that South Wales Police Deputy Chief Constable Richard Lewis described as “a balanced perspective” on the technology’s use.
Source: Gray News