Facial recognition cameras scan every adult and child within range to make biometric maps of their faces – more like fingerprints than photographs. These are then compared to images on secretive watch lists which have included pictures of people not wanted by police.
Liberty and campaigner Ed Bridges won the world’s first legal challenge to police use of the tech. The Court said it violates our right to privacy and breaks data and equality laws.
But police are trying to find ways around the judgment. And the tech has also been used by private companies in busy shopping centres and transport hubs, scanning thousands of people every day.
The use of facial recognition technology by police on our streets and by private companies in publicly-accessible places must be banned. Sign the petition.
FACIAL RECOGNITION VIOLATES EVERYONE’S PRIVACY
Thousands of people are scanned every time the tech is used in public – their biometric data snatched without consent and often without their knowledge.
Their faces are then compared to images on watch lists. These images can be of anyone and come from anywhere, including social media. Police have used facial recognition to track people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
Judges said lack of safeguards governing where it’s used and who is on the watch list is a violation of our right to privacy. And scanning everyone whether they’re wanted or not breaches our data rights.
FACIAL RECOGNITION MAKES US CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOUR
People behave differently when they know they are being watched, altering where they go, who they go with and what they do. We shouldn’t have to change how we live our lives to protect ourselves from unwarranted police surveillance.
FACIAL RECOGNITION IS DISCRIMINATORY
This tech can’t tell black people apart, meaning they are more likely to be misidentified and stopped by the police. And police have often chosen to use it in locations with predominantly black, Asian and minority ethnic populations, and at events with high attendance from people of colour like Notting Hill Carnival.
FACIAL RECOGNITION HAS NO PLACE ON OUR STREETS
The Court of appeal has said police use of facial recognition is unlawful. South Wales Police aren’t challenging the ruling.
An independent report has condemned the Metropolitan Police’s use of the tech, saying it failed to protect human rights.
MPs from all parties have urged the police to suspend facial recognition deployments.
But the answer isn’t to make law governing its use. This can’t solve the human rights concerns or the tech’s in-built discrimination.
And making it more accurate will only exacerbate the over-policing of people of colour.
The only solution is to ban it.
Thirteen US cities have recognised the dangers and done just that. We must follow their lead in the UK.