Police in a UK county are going to use facial recognition technology to surveil an upcoming concert. The Leicestershire Police, responding to a Freedom of Information request filed by reporters at The Register, said that surveillance cameras positioned at the Download Festival will scan faces of attendees and compare them to a local mugshot database.
It’s a policing strategy that’s on the rise in the UK, but it has also been subject to some intense scrutiny. English and Welsh police have faced criticisms over their uploading of the mugshots of innocent people to a national database, and more recently Police Scotland has had to deal with some PR issues having been compelled to disclose its own such practices. But such systems are undeniably useful to police; earlier this year the head of Scotland Yard went so far as to call on British citizens to install their own CCTV security in their homes so that police could use facial recognition technology in the event of a burglary or other such incident.
In this way these UK deployments of facial recognition technology represent a microcosm of larger trends and tensions permeating the global industry. Privacy concerns about facial recognition, particularly in police-led law enforcement deployments, are not going away. They are going to ramp up as the technology becomes more pervasive. And it will; it is proving highly popular, and the global market is set to expand rapidly over the next several years.
Source: Gizmodo UK
June 11, 2015 – by Alex Perala