Metropolitan Police Implementing Facial Recognition in London

Metropolitan police are meeting their announcement about using facial recognition in the streets of London with a lot of conflicted feelings. Most of the backlash that they are facing is from civilians who feel that their civil liberties are being breached by the government, despite the claim from the police that 80% of the people who were surveyed backed the project.

Despite all of the blowback from these concerns, the Metropolitan police still plan on rolling out the software to be used city-wide. The Metropolitan Police claim that in 70% of instances where they apprehend a subject through facial recognition it was an effective approach.

Professor Pete Fussey, an Essex University surveillance expert, challenges that claim to effectiveness. He states that in all of the independent research conducted by the University on those cases where Metropolitan claims that the software was effective, they only came up with 17%. He is willing to stand behind the findings of the University and is not sure where the 70% that the Met is claiming came from.

Although there are several concerns revolving around the use of facial recognition software and cameras being used, the biggest one being voiced seems to be the security of it all. Fears that hackers could potentially get into the software and corrupt it are high among the fears of those who oppose the usage of it. Despite all these fears though, it seems as if the rollout worldwide is imminent.

There are airports around the world that already use this type of software at their borders and boarding gates. There are also hopes that soon this will be utilized in the body cameras worn on police officers as well.

These cameras are linked to databases that are supplied with all of the latest mug shots and license photographs. The idea is that a person’s face is comparable with their fingerprint, that it is unique.

The Met may not get the chance to roll this out as quickly as they had hoped though, there are several civil liberties unions that are ready to fight this and bring suit against the attempt to roll out the software city-wide. There is a chance that these suits will be filed prior to London getting to use the cameras.