Facial recognition to be challenged in UK courts

A legal challenge against the use of automatic facial recognition [AFR] technology by police has been launched by a civil liberties group.

Lawyers for Big Brother Watch argue the use of AFR breaches the rights of individuals under the Human Rights Act.

The case also focuses on a claim that the Home Office has failed in its duty to properly regulate the use of AFRs and it criticises the length of time that gathered images are held.

The Metropolitan Police piloted the system at Notting Hill Carnival in 2016 and 2017, at the Cenotaph on Memorial Sunday, and at Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford in June 2018.

Cameras in Cardiff city centre and at a demonstration at an "arms fair" were used to gather the images of members of the public. As of April this year AFR generated 2,451 alerts with only 234 proving accurate. At that time, police officers stopped 31 people who had been incorrectly identified and asked them to prove their identity.

Lawyers for Big Brother Watch argue the use of AFR breaches the rights of individuals under the Human Rights Act, including the right to privacy and freedom of expression.