The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has called for a moratorium on the use of facial recognition:
“We call on the Government to issue a moratorium on the current use of facial recognition technology and no further trials should take place until a legislative framework has been introduced and guidance on trial protocols, and an oversight and evaluation system, has been established.”
They have also highlighted the evidence that there is a lack of a legal basis for the trials, let alone operational use:
“There is growing evidence from respected, independent bodies that the ‘regulatory lacuna’ surrounding the use of automatic facial recognition has called the legal basis of the trials into question. The Government, however, seems to not realise or to concede that there is a problem.”
They have also called on police to urgently remove the hundreds of thousands of innocent people’s photos from police databases – something we’ve been campaigning on for years.
Our Legal and Policy officer, Griff Ferris, said:
“This parliamentary report is the latest damning assessment of the police’s lawless and reckless use of facial recognition. There is now an overwhelming call for a moratorium on this dangerously authoritarian technology. It is deeply concerning that neither the police nor the Home Secretary is responding to these urgent calls and if they don’t take action soon, we’ll be left with no option but to take them to court to protect the public from more China-style surveillance.
“We are also pleased that the Committee has called on the Home Office to take urgent action to remove innocent people’s photos from police databases. We’ve been campaigning for years for police to delete the millions of photos of innocent people languishing on their systems. This practice was ruled unlawful by the High Court in 2012 – it is shameful that the Government has failed to act.”