THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER has called for a new code of practice to control police use of live facial recognition.
"Live facial recognition is a step-change in policing techniques; never before have we seen technologies with the potential for such widespread invasiveness.
"The results of that investigation raise serious concerns about the use of a technology that relies on huge amounts of sensitive personal information," wrote Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.
She argues that the absence of a statutory code specifically addressing the use of live facial recognition, and the legal and moral challenges it entails, will end-up undermining public confidence.
The proposed code will "give the police and the public enough knowledge as to when and how the police can use live facial recognition systems in public spaces", Denham wrote, adding that the ICO will now work with the Home Office, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, the Biometrics Commissioner, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and policing bodies on the new code.
In addition, Denham called for more development work to be done on the algorithms in a bid to eliminate bias, particularly ethnic biases.
In her Commissioner's Opinion, Denham "makes clear that there are well-defined data protection rules which police forces need to follow before and during deployment of live facial recognition.
"The Opinion recognises the high statutory threshold that must be met to justify the use of live facial recognition, and demonstrate accountability, under the UK's data protection law.
"That threshold is appropriate considering the potential invasiveness of this technology. My Opinion also sets out the practical steps police forces must take to demonstrate legal compliance."
Not fining people ninety quid for looking the other way when the police point the camera on them would be a start.
Actually the understanding the law, data protection and things like that would be a bonus. µ
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