February 25, 2016 -
The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) has had its request to the Scottish government to provide financial support for facial recognition technology in stadiums rejected, according to a report in the Daily Record.
The goal in implementing the technology, which could have cost up to £4m, was to identify those guilty of violence, offensive singing, using pyrotechnics and exhibiting any other prohibited behaviour.
At the time, sports fans and privacy advocates expressed their concerns.
“The SFSA would be concerned at a rushed move towards intrusive surveillance,” said Simon Barrow, chairman of the Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA). “There needs to be careful consultation with fans and clubs, alongside wider consideration of how to deal effectively and proportionately with threatening and insulting behaviour.”
Pol Clementsmith of Open Rights Group (ORG) Scotland said the technology would encroach on people’s right to privacy and may unfairly target football fans.
Community safety Minister Paul Wheelhouse told the media this week that the funding request has been rejected.
“The specific proposal that has been put to us is not one that we can accept. We feel there are a number of concerns about it.”