When we look at the measurements facial recognition technology uses it is obvious the results are likely to be subject to error (Picture: www.milwaukeeindependent.com
There has been a huge increase in the use of facial recognition technology by police and businesses in the UK despite independent studies raising concerns about human rights violations, anddiscrimination, and numerous incidences of entirely innocent people being identified as criminals or people of interest in connection with crimes.
Despite this, the UK Government, sticking with its recent cross - party policy of following the bad science is still pushing for greater use of facial recognition technology in policing and surveilance in supermarkets, busy shopping areas, transport hubs amd motorway service areas as well as public buildings. A call for urgent action to stop governments and private companies using this surveillance technology has been published by human rights groups and technology watchdog organisations across the world.
Signed by over 60 experts and 120 civil society organisations working across six continents, the call for a halt to the use of facial recognition comes at a time when governments worldwide are considering whether to prohibit or permit the use of live facial recognition, according to the UK Big Brother Watch group (BBW).
The BBW “works to roll back the surveillance state and protect the rights of everyone in the UK to be free from unfair intrusion” according to their Director, Silkie Carlo.”
In a joint statement warning of serious concerns about the human rights and discriminatory impacts of facial recognition surveillance, the signatories cite an insufficient evidence base, lack of safeguards, legal protections and democratic mandates to justify the use of the controversial technology.
We should remember that cameras can only record the light reflected by any objects including a face and there are numerous variables at work in any live situation that can affect the image made by the camera when it digitizes that reflected light. Thus for people who are up to no good, disguisings ones appearance from facial recognition technology is as easy as breaking wind.
Whilst European Parliament recently endorsed a blanket ban on police using AI-powered facial recognition surveillance under the AI Act and several US cities have banned the technology, the UK’s approach has been described as an “outlier”. In the UK, uses of live facial recognition surveillance have recently increased in the retail sector and some police forces.
Live facial recognition surveillance, whereby certain dimensions of individuals’ faces are biometrically scanned by cameras (picture, top) in real-time and compared against a database, has been used in recent months at the Coronation of King Charles II, sports events, concerts and central London. Research by Big Brother Watch, one of the groups that co-ordinated the international statement, found that over 89% of UK police facial recognition alerts to date have wrongly identified members of the public as people of interest.