MPs call for halt to police’s use of live facial recognition

facial recognition

Authorities in the UK have called for a suspension of the use of AI-powered facial recognition camera use, MPs have said.

According to reports, the House of Commons Science and Technology committee has said that police should not be using the technology until it has been properly tested and regulated, with inherent software bias cited as a particular concern.

The committee criticised police for not sufficiently editing a database of custody images to delete the images of “unconvicted individuals.” It also noted that similar worries had been raised in 2018, but that advisories had gone unheeded by the Home Office. In Scotland, meanwhile, the Scottish Executive has brought in an independent review into how biometric information should be handled and stored.

The committee report said:

“It is unclear whether police forces are unaware of the requirement to review custody images every six years, or if they are simply ‘struggling to comply.

“What is clear, however, is that they have not been afforded any earmarked resources to assist with the manual review and weeding process.”

Politicians in the UK now fear that the faces of innocent citizens might get picked up by facial recognition technology and used to help the police apprehend people and make arrests.

Just last week, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid spoke out in support of the police regarding testing facial recognition, saying how the technology would need to be regulated if it is to be used in the long term.

Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, recently commented that the police force’s reliance on facial recognition cameras provoked “significant privacy and data protection issues”, and may even violate the terms of the GDPR.

In June, a legal challenge was presented against South Wales Police by civil rights group Liberty, due to the force’s use of the technology in a law suit that has yet to be decided upon by Cardiff High Court.


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