In our upcoming EcoReporter segment on ‘AI facial recognition: Campaigners and MPs call for ban’, we highlight the concerns raised by a group of politicians and privacy campaigners regarding the use of facial recognition surveillance by police and private companies. These concerns include potential human rights violations, discrimination, and the lack of a democratic mandate. The government, however, argues that facial recognition has a sound legal basis and has already helped catch criminals.
Facial recognition technology involves the use of live cameras to scan faces in specific locations and compare them with individuals on watch lists. Police forces in the UK inform citizens in advance about the deployment of this technology and display physical notices to alert people to the presence of cameras. However, campaigners are calling for an immediate ban on facial recognition, arguing that it has the potential to turn populations into walking ID cards.
The group advocating for the ban includes parliamentarians from various parties and campaigning organizations such as Amnesty and Big Brother Watch. The UK’s surveillance camera commissioner has also criticized the plans, stating that they could damage public trust and make passport-holders feel like they are in a “digital line-up.”
South Wales Police and the Metropolitan Police have faced criticism for their use of live facial recognition, particularly at events such as concerts. Both forces have assured the public that if a person is not on a watch list, their biometric data will be immediately deleted and not stored.
In contrast to the UK’s approach, the European Parliament has agreed to ban live facial recognition using AI in its draft of the Artificial Intelligence Act. The Home Office, however, maintains that facial recognition, including live facial recognition, has a sound legal basis and has already helped catch serious criminals.
Overall, the debate surrounding facial recognition surveillance raises important questions about privacy, human rights, and the balance between security and individual freedoms. As EcoReporter, we aim to present a balanced perspective on this issue, considering both the potential benefits and risks associated with the use of AI facial recognition technology.