The Metropolitan Police is rolling out its use of facial recognition cameras. It said the technology will be used in the fight against serious and violent crime, and also to help find missing children and vulnerable people.
Suspects wanted by police or the courts will be on “watchlists”, and if they are spotted by the cameras they will be approached by officers.
But civil liberties group Big Brother Watch slammed the decision, saying it “represents an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK.
Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said the technology will be deployed “within a month”.
Trials of the cameras saw them used in locations including the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford and London’s West End.
Big Brother Watch is currently taking legal action against the Met Police for its use of the technology.
We are now urgently considering next steps in our crowdfunded legal claim against the Met + the Home Secretary.
This move instantly stains the new Government’s human rights record and we urge an immediate reconsideration.
— Big Brother Watch (@bbw1984) January 24, 2020
Its director, Silkie Carlo stated that its rollout:
flies in the face of the independent review showing the Met’s use of facial recognition was unlawful, risked harming public rights and was 81% inaccurate.
This is a breathtaking assault on our rights and we will challenge it, including by urgently considering next steps in our ongoing legal claim against the Met and the Home Secretary. This move instantly stains the new government’s human rights record and we urge an immediate reconsideration.
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