Manchester City have been cautioned against the introduction of facial recognition technology, which a civil rights group says would risk "normalising a mass surveillance tool". The reigning Premier League champions are considering introducing technology allowing fans to get into the Etihad Stadium more quickly by showing their faces instead of tickets, according to the Sunday Times. If someone is recognised as having bought a ticket, they would be ushered in by a green light, and if not they would be halted with a yellow one. Hannah Couchman, the policy and campaigns officer at Liberty, said: "This is a disturbing move by Manchester City, subjecting football fans to an intrusive scan, much like taking a fingerprint, just so they can go to the Saturday game. "It's alarming that fans will be sharing deeply sensitive personal information with a private company that boasts about collecting and sharing data on each person that walks through the gate, and using this to deny people entry.
If you're reading this in the United States, there's a 50 percent chance that a photo of your face is in at least one database used in police facial-recognition systems. Police departments in nearly half of U.S. states can use facial-recognition software to compare surveillance images with databases of ID photos or mugshots. Some departments only use facial-recognition to confirm the identity of a suspect who's been detained; others continuously analyze footage from surveillance cameras to determine exactly who is walking by at any particular moment. Altogether, more than 117 million American adults are subject to face-scanning systems. These findings were published Tuesday in a report from Georgetown Law's Center for Privacy and Technology.
When thousands of football fans pour into Cardiff's Principality Stadium on June 3 to watch the final match of the UEFA Champions League, few will be aware that their faces will have already been scanned, processed, and compared to a police database of some 500,000 "persons of interest". According to a government tender issued by South Wales Police, the system will be deployed during the day of the game in Cardiff's main train station, as well as in and around the Principality Stadium situated in the heart of Cardiff's central retail district. Cameras will potentially be scanning the faces of an estimated 170,000 visitors plus the many more thousands of people in the vicinity of the bustling Saturday evening city center on match day, June 3. Captured images will then be compared in real time to 500,000 custody images stored in the police information and records management system alerting police to any "persons of interest," according to the tender. The security operation will build on previous police use of Automated Facial Recognition, or AFR technology by London's Metropolitan Police during 2016's Notting Hill Carnival.
Over the past few months, high-profile incidents in the United Kingdom, one of the most surveilled societies in the world, forced people to consider how facial recognition will be used there. Brexit taking up most of the oxygen in the room hasn't made that debate any easier, but in conversations with VentureBeat, three experts from different backgrounds -- Ada Lovelace Institute director Carly Kind, the U.K.'s surveillance camera commissioner Tony Porter, and University of Essex professor Daragh Murray, who studies police use of facial recognition -- all agree that the U.K. needs to find a middle ground. All three agree that years of Brexit debate have stifled necessary reform, and that leaving the European Union could carry consequences for years to come as police and businesses continue experiments with facial recognition in the U.K. They also worry that an inability to take action could lead to calls for a ban or overregulation, or far more dystopian scenarios of facial recognition everywhere. The Terminator's got serious competition for symbolizing the fear of technology trampling human rights. Facial recognition has become a major issue around the globe due both to its deeply personal and pervasive nature as well as advances in AI that now make it work in real time.