The Government has been criticised for retaining over 20million facial recognition images of innocent people.
At present, over 20 million images of Briton’s faces are held by the police, Professor Wiles a former scientific adviser to the government reported. Video footage is also included in the police image held on both the Police National Database and within separate force systems.
Following this news, the British public’s confidence in law implementation is hindered with the lack of laws in place to control the use of facial recognition by Police, unknowing when or where they are being ‘watched’ and ‘captured’ by police images.
Despite a high court ruling in 2012 outlining retaining images of innocent people was unlawful, Police forces have continued to gather and save images from facial recognition technology after the Government told forces they don’t need to delete the retained images, in a statement from the Biometrics Commissioner last week outlining the decision making process is entirely in the Police force’s hands.
The public’s confidence in the police is estimated to decline further as the amount of images stored on police databases increases and the use of facial recognition technology is used more alongside those images. Leaving the decision to delete or keep images entirely in the hands of the police, the Biometrics Commissioner said: “Future public confidence might require a greater degree of oversight, transparency and assurance”.
However, the Commissioner also said, “The public benefit of the use of such an intrusive technology must outweigh the interference of individual privacy.”
Facial recognition technology can identify people from live CCTV images. Although the technology has the potential to be beneficial for the Police force to solve crime investigations, the concerns regard the way images are retained for no purpose.
The criticism comes following the announcement from the Biometrics Commissioner that facial recognition technology is expected to be used throughout the weekend at Notting Hill’s Carnival festival this bank holiday for the second time.
Against the criticism Police forces face, the Biometrics Commissioner said: “There is a public benefit in the use of such technology, if it can be shown to help prevent the problems by assisting the police to catch offenders or prevent crime.”