MPs and rights groups have called for UK police and private companies to “immediately stop” using live facial recognition surveillance in public spaces.
In a joint call published by civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, the groups cite “serious concerns” about “incompatibility with human rights”, the “lack of an evidence base”, “discriminatory impact” and the “lack of a democratic mandate” for facial recognition surveillance.
Senior MPs across parties including former Minister David Davis MP, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott MP, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson MP and Green MP Caroline Lucas are among parliamentarians backing the call. They join 25 rights, race equality and expert technology groups in calling for face surveillance to be urgently halted in the UK.
Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:
“No other European country has a face surveillance epidemic like the UK, aligning us with the likes of China rather than our democratic counterparts. The British public do not want to be walking ID cards subjected to a constant police line up.
Tens of millions of people will now have been scanned by facial recognition cameras in this country, yet very few of us even know about it. The secret growth of this dangerous mass surveillance tool is undemocratic and unacceptable.
There must be an urgent stop to this privacy disaster before it’s too late.”
BBC News – Face surveillance “must stop”
BBC Victoria Derbyshire – Facial recognition debate
The Times – Ban facial recognition cameras, MPs urge