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Last Update: 4 Hour and 9 Minute ago
News code: 28983
Published Date: Monday 27 January 2020 - 13:55:32
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Cameras to watch faces in public; does security outweigh privacy?

Cameras to watch faces in public; does security outweigh privacy?
World  - Police are to start using controversial facial recognition across London, despite concerns over the technology’s accuracy and privacy issues.

Eight trials carried out by the Metropolitan Police between 2016 and 2018 resulted in a 96 per cent rate of "false positives", and only eight arrests resulted from a facial recognition match.

Privacy campaigners have vowed to launch new legal challenges against its use and called the move a "serious threat to civil liberties in the UK".

But a senior officer insisted live facial recognition (LFR) was a "fantastic crime-fighting tool".

Assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave said every deployment would be "bespoke" and target lists of wanted offenders or vulnerable missing people.

"LFR is only bringing technology to bear on a policing activity since policing began," he added.

"We brief officers showing them photographs of wanted people, asking them to memorize that photograph and see if they can spot that person on patrol ... what LFR does for us is make that process more efficient and effective."

Mr Ephgrave said the technology would be primarily used for serious and violent offenders, who are at large, as well as missing children and vulnerable people.

Police said any potential "alerts" would be kept for one month, while watchlists will be wiped immediately after each operation.

The system can support lists of up to 10,000 wanted people but officials said they will be targeting specific groups in set areas because of "lawfulness and proportionality".

Mr Ephgrave said LFR "makes no decisions" alone, and works by flagging potential facial matches from live footage to the police database.

Officers then judge whether the person could be the same and decide whether to question them in order to establish their identity.

"Most of the time they will want to do that - have a conversation, establish credentials, and either make a positive identification and arrest or let them move on," Mr Ephgrave said.

"We want to make sure these deployments are effective in fighting crime but are also accepted by the public. Londoners expect us to deploy this technology responsibly."

He insisted that deployments would be "overt", with members of the public being warned about scanning using signs and leaflets handed out by officers.

 

News Code: 28983
Published Date: Monday 27 January 2020 - 13:55:32
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