From Monday, London’s police will integrate face recognition tech as an experiment for two days. In the areas of Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Soho in London, the technology will examine crowds’ faces and compare them with the database of individuals wanted by the courts and Metropolitan Police in London.
If the tech founds a match, the police officers in that field will analyze it and perform further tests to make sure the identity of that individual.
The scanners will be integrated each day for about eight hours and placed clearly near costumed police officers. This release is a part of a broader monitoring plan to mitigate violence and crime in Westminster.
Walking pedestrians are permitted to stay away from the scanner, and all the recordings will be deleted as soon as the test ends. Faces similar to the wanted-list will be stored for thirty days.
In order to inform the general public, the police are handing out pamphlets and pasting posters in the locations where it will be deploying the technology. Policemen will also communicate with the public to describe the integration process.
Nonetheless, Big Brother Watch (BBW), a campaign group, is about to release a legal contest against the integration of this technology, raising £6,685 ($8,440) in a crowdfunder. It says that it utilized Freedom of Information laws in UK to get the police data which revealed all the matches found out by scanners since May have been false, the results were 100 percent inaccurate.
“The police’s use of this authoritarian surveillance tool in total absence of a legal or democratic basis is alarming,” director of BBW, Silkie Carlo, said in an interview. “The fact that it has been utterly useless so far shows what a terrible waste of police time and public money it is. It is well overdue that police drop this dangerous and lawless technology.”
Strategic lead for the project, Ivan Balhatchet, claimed the Metropolitan Police has a plan to perform more experiments of face recognition tech by the end of this year.
“We continue to engage with many different stakeholders, some who actively challenge our use of this technology,” he said when talking to the press. “In order to show transparency and continue constructive debate, we have invited individuals and groups with varying views on our use of facial recognition technology to this deployment.”
The police force will examine the data gathered from the experiment to decide whether the tech has proved to be useful for identifying and deterring criminals.
Public talks will also be held so that the police can tell the public about the apprehensions of the use of this technology. Future integrations under consideration are music festivals, transport hubs, and sporting events.
In May, Elizabeth Denham, U.K. Information Commissioner, claimed that the use of the tech would only be lawful if police department could confirm that utilizing it in public areas was solving the problems it wishes to solve.