Facebook has removed accounts, pages and apps linked to firms which build facial recognition software for the Russian government. The social media giant announced on Thursday it had removed 66 accounts associated with SocialDataHub and its sister firm Fubutech. It said the companies had violated Facebook policy by scraping data from the social network. 'Facebook has reason to believe your work for the government has included matching photos from individuals' personal social media accounts in order to identify them,' the company said in a cease-and-desist letter to SocialDataHub, The New York Times reported. The companies involved, which share 52 employees in Moscow, were reportedly given until yesterday to confirm what data they had taken and delete it.
While AFR tech has been trialled by a number of UK police forces, this appears to be the first time it has led to an arrest. South Wales Police didn't provide details about the nature of the arrest, presumably because it's an ongoing case. Back in April, it emerged that South Wales Police planned to scan the faces "of people at strategic locations in and around the city centre" ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, which was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on June 3. On May 31, though, a man was arrested via AFR. "It was a local man and unconnected to the Champions League," a South Wales Police spokesperson told Ars.
A legal challenge against the use of automatic facial recognition technology by police has been launched by a civil liberties group. Automatic Facial Recognition uses CCTV or surveillance cameras to record and compare facial characteristics with images on police databases. Lawyers for Big Brother Watch argue the use of AFR breaches the rights of individuals under the Human Rights Act. The Metropolitan Police says the technology will help keep London safe. The system is being piloted in London, with three other forces - Humberside, South Wales, and Leicestershire - also trialling the technology.
The rail industry has come up with a plan that may as well be out of a science-fiction movie to cope with growing demand and overcrowding: charging rail passengers for journeys by fingerprint or iris scan. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), the organisation representing train operators and Network Rail, claims biometric technology would enable fares to be automatically charged marking the start of an era that could radically accelerate commute times. The technology represents the next step from travellers being able to us smartphones' Bluetooth signals to open station barriers. That will be trialled on Chiltern Railways' route between London Marylebone and Oxford Parkway over the coming months. The use of digital signalling technology will also allow trains to operate closer together, cutting delay, according to the RDG.
Facial recognition technology used by the UK police is making thousands of mistakes, a new report has found. South Wales Police, London's Met and Leicestershire are all trialling automated facial recognition systems in public places to identify wanted criminals. According to police figures, the system often makes more incorrect matches than correct ones. Experts warned the technology could lead to false arrests and described it as a'dangerously inaccurate policing tool'. South Wales Police has been testing an automated facial recognition system.