Police force use of facial recognition technology in public spaces risks turning people into “walking ID cards,” a civil rights group has told RT.Campaign director at Privacy International, Harmit Kambo, said the technology, which scans people’s faces against a mass database of facial profiles, risks labeling innocent people as “troublemakers.”
His comments come after the Home Officeannounced it will invest more in facial recognition technology for police, despite widespread criticism that it may be illegal as it infringes the right to privacy.
Transparency activists, MPs and independent regulators are concerned that police forces across England and Wales currently have 16 million facial profiles stored in their databases – the equivalent of almost 25 percent of the population – which can be used alongside the technology.
“Widespread use of facial recognition technology in public will have a profound impact on the freedom we take for granted when we go about our daily lives in public spaces.
“It turns us all into walking ID cards,” the Privacy International campaigner said.
Although CCTV surveillance has been in use for several years, the new scanning technology brings monitoring to a “whole new level,” and risks giving the police unprecedented powers, Kambo warned.
“The police will have the power to know where you are, even if they do not suspect you of any crime whatsoever.”
The Home Office said a biomimetic strategy will be published in “due course.”