Mixed reaction to Met Police's use of facial recognition
27 January 2020 15:21 GMT

Rights groups and government bodies have been responding to the Metropolitan Police’s announcement that they will soon start using facial recognition cameras in London.

The country's ICO said its investigation found there was public support for police use of LFR "but also that there needed to be improvements in how police authorised and deployed the technology if it was to retain public confidence and address privacy concerns. We set out our views in a formal Opinion for police forces".

"The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has incorporated the advice from our Opinion into its planning and preparation for future LFR use. Our Opinion acknowledges that an appropriately governed, targeted and intelligence- led deployment of LFR may meet the threshold of strict necessity for law enforcement purposes. We have received assurances from the MPS that it is considering the impact of this technology and is taking steps to reduce intrusion and comply with the requirements of data protection legislation. We expect to receive further information from the MPS regarding this matter in forthcoming days. The MPS has committed to us that it will review each deployment, and the ICO will continue to observe and monitor the arrangements for, and effectiveness of, its use".

However,  Allan Hogarth, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Policy and Government Affairs, said:

“The Met Police’s decision to introduce facial recognition tech poses a huge threat to human rights – and is contrary to multiple warnings from Amnesty and other rights groups, MPs and independent experts.

“This technology puts many human rights at risk, including the rights to privacy, non-discrimination, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

“Its introduction must be put on hold until these significant concerns are addressed.

“This is no time to experiment with this powerful technology that is being used without adequate transparency, oversight and accountability.“

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