Police in London are moving ahead with a deploying a facial recognition camera system despite privacy concerns and evidence that the technology is riddled with false positives. The Metropolitan Police, the U.K.'s biggest police department with jurisdiction over most of London, announced Friday it would begin rolling out new "live facial recognition" cameras in London, making the capital one of the largest cities in the West to adopt the controversial technology. The "Met," as the police department is known in London, said in a statement the facial recognition technology, which is meant to identify people on a watch list and alert police to their real-time location, would be "intelligence-led" and deployed to only specific locations. It's expected to be rolled out as soon as next month. However, privacy activists immediately raised concerns, noting that independent reviews of trials of the technology showed a failure rate of 81%.
The Metropolitan police will start using live facial recognition, Britain's biggest force has announced. The decision to deploy the controversial technology, which has been dogged by privacy concerns and questions over its lawfulness, was immediately condemned by civil liberties groups, who described the move as "a breathtaking assault on our rights". But the Met said that after two years of trials, it was ready to use the cameras within a month. The force said it would deploy the technology overtly and only after consulting communities in which it is to be used. Nick Ephgrave, an assistant commissioner, said: "As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London. Independent research has shown that the public support us in this regard."
London's police will be testing out live facial recognition technology on Christmas shoppers today and tomorrow. The Metropolitan Police Service said the test, which will cover areas in Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, is part of its ongoing trial of the technology. When people pass through the area covered by the cameras, their images are streamed directly to the police facial recognition system database. This database contains a watch list of offenders wanted by the police and courts for various offences. The system measures the structure of each face, including distance between eyes, nose, mouth and jaw, to create facial data.
San Francisco supervisors approved a ban on police using facial recognition technology, making it the first city in the U.S. with such a restriction. SAN FRANCISCO – A routine traffic stop goes dangerously awry when a police officer's body camera uses its built-in facial recognition software to misidentify a motorist as a convicted felon. At best, lawsuits are launched. That imaginary scenario is what some California lawmakers are trying to avoid by supporting Assembly Bill 1215, the Body Camera Accountability Act, which would ban the use of facial recognition software in police body cams – a national first if it passes a Senate vote this summer and is signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. State law enforcement officials here do not now employ the technology to scan those in the line of sight of officers.
Live facial recognition cameras will be deployed across London, with the city's Metropolitan Police announcing today that the technology has moved past the trial stage and is ready to be permanently integrated into everyday policing. The cameras will be placed in locations popular with shoppers and tourists, like Stratford's Westfield shopping center and the West End, reports BBC News. Each camera will scan for faces contained in "bespoke" watch lists, which the Met says will predominantly contain individuals "wanted for serious and violent offences." When the camera flags an individual, police officers will approach and ask them to verify their identity. If they're on the watch list, they'll be arrested.