Legal challenge raised over UK police use of automated facial recognition

A Cardiff, Wales resident has introduced the first legal challenge to a UK police force’s use of automated facial recognition technology, Wales247 reports.

Ed Bridges is represented by human rights organization Liberty and has demanded South Wales Police end its use of automated facial recognition technology because “it violates the privacy rights of everyone within range of the cameras, has a chilling effect on peaceful protest, discriminates against women and BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) people, and breaches data protection laws.” Bridges says he will take South Wales Police to court if they refuse.

Bridges, who believes he was scanned by South Wales Police at a peaceful anti-arms protest and while doing his Christmas shopping, is hoping the public will back his challenge through crowdfunding site CrowdJustice.

According to media reports, South Wales Police have used facial recognition in public spaces on at least 20 occasions since May 2017 including at a 2017 Champion’s League soccer match in Cardiff when police set up cameras around the stadium and South Wales’ main train station with automated facial recognition technology. The police force recently admitted that of the 2,470 people identified as possible matches with criminals on file out of 170,000 attending the match, 2,297 (92 percent) were found to be false positives.

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