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HomePolicingRobocop-style body-worn cameras with facial recognition feature “extremely likely” for UK police

Robocop-style body-worn cameras with facial recognition feature “extremely likely” for UK police

Fraser Sampson, the biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner for England and Wales, said that it was “extremely likely” that the embedding of facial recognition in policing would also include “exploring integration of this technology with police body-worn video”, which is reminiscent

An independent report commissioned by the biometrics commissioner of England and Wales revealed that Chris Philp, the UK policing minister, is pushing for wider adoption of facial-recognition technology by police.

Co-authored by academics Pete Fussey and William Webster on behalf of Fraser Sampson, the report also noted there is significant concern over the police’s use of facial recognition, and that a number of other experts and public bodies have been calling for more detailed rules for deployers of the technology.

This includes a House of Lords inquiry into police use of advanced algorithmic technologies; the UK’s former biometrics commissioner, Paul Wiles; an independent legal review by Matthew Ryder QC; the UK’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission; and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, which called for a moratorium on live facial recognition (LFR) as far back as July 2019.

Most recently, in February 2023, Sampson also called for clear, comprehensive and coherent frameworks to regulate police use of artificial intelligence (AI) and biometrics in the UK.

However, the government has maintained that there is “already a comprehensive framework” in place. In January 2022, the then policing minister Kit Malthouse said because there is already a strong framework in place, any new policing tech should be tested in court, rather than legislated for, on the basis that new laws would “stifle innovation”.

As it stands, South Wales Police and the Metropolitan Police Service are the only forces in England and Wales to have deployed LFR so far, with the latter spending 2022 ramping up its use of the technology despite ongoing concerns about the proportionality and necessity of the technology, as well as its impact on vulnerable or marginalised communities.

In April 2023, both forces doubled down on their use of LFR technology after research they commissioned found “substantial improvement” in the accuracy of their systems when using certain settings.

Responding to the claim that it intends to push for a wider roll out of facial recognition, the Home Office said: “The government is committed to empower the police to use new technologies like facial recognition in a fair and proportionate way.

“Facial recognition plays a crucial role in helping the police tackle serious offences including murder, knife crime, rape, child sexual exploitation and terrorism.”

(Source: Computer Weekly)

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