Live facial recognition is a controversial form of mass surveillance, and human rights advocates are vehement in their criticism of its use by police forces.
The Metropolitan Police recently announced that they would continue to employ this “gamechanging” technology, citing research from the National Physical Laboratory which indicates that accuracy has been greatly improved, regardless of race and sex.
However, groups such as Liberty, Big Brother Watch, and Amnesty International have argued that the very nature of facial recognition technology makes it oppressive and intrusive, turning us all into virtual ID cards. Worries have been raised about its accuracy when used on BAME individuals and people under 20, though the research displayed an impressive 89% success rate for larger databases. This stands in stark contrast to the 72% success rate with databases of 2,000-4,000 records previously recorded.
But Madeleine Stone, legal and policy officer at Big Brother Watch, said: “One in 6,000 people being wrongly flagged by facial recognition is nothing to boast about, particularly at deployments in large cities where tens of thousands of people are scanned per day. “If rolled out across the UK, this could mean tens of thousands of us will be wrongly flagged as criminals and forced to prove our innocence.”