Campaigners criticise guidance sanctioning rollout of facial recognition cameras used by South Wales Police
Campaigners have criticised new UK Government guidance sanctioning the rollout of facial recognition technology which proved controversial when used by South Wales Police.
The new guidance says that the use of facial recognition technology should be justified and proportionate and any unused data should be quickly deleted. It should also take into account any potential adverse impact on protected groups.
But 31 organisations including Liberty, Privacy International and Amnesty say the new Home Office guidance allowing police, local councils and enforcement agencies to deploy face recognition cameras across Wales and England ignores court rulings against “invasive” filming.
A court of appeal earlier ruled that the use of facial recognition cameras by South Wales Police as a pilot scheme, before rolling them out nationwide, breached privacy rights and broke equalities law.
It followed a legal challenge brought by civil rights group Liberty and Ed Bridges, 37, from Cardiff, in August of last year.
“In a democratic society, it is imperative that intrusive technologies are subject to effective scrutiny,” the letter signed by the 31 organisations and published in the Telegraph said.
“Police and the Home Office have, so far, completely bypassed Parliament on the matter of live facial recognition technology (LFRT).
“We are not aware of any intention to subject LFRT plans to parliamentary consideration, despite the intrusiveness of this technology, its highly controversial use over a number of years, and the dangers associated with its use.”
Facial recognition technology maps faces in crowds and alerts the police if they match images of people on a watchlist of individuals of interest to the police.