Big Brother Watch response to Met’s first operational facial recognition deployment

Big Brother Watch Team / February 10, 2020

The Metropolitan Police announced this evening that it will commence operational use of live facial recognition surveillance tomorrow in Stratford, 1100-1630.

Big Brother Watch, which has called the surveillance “dangerously authoritarian”, will observe and demonstrate at the deployment.

Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:

“We’re alarmed by the Met’s decision to target Stratford with facial recognition surveillance yet again. This will be the third time the surveillance has been imposed on this diverse area and both previous operations led to a 100% misidentification rate with a young black man wrongly stopped. This is a shocking waste of police time and public money, and a huge assault on our civil liberties.

“We’re incredibly disappointed that Sadiq Khan has given the green light to this oppressive and flawed mass surveillance. Stratford is one of London’s busiest shopping areas and transport hubs and thousands of innocent people will be scanned by police without their consent. Government should urgently stop police using this tech.”

NOTES:

1) Further statistics and FOIs relating to the Met’s previous uses of facial recognition can be found here: https://bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/campaigns/stop-facial-recognition

2) Spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact 07730 439257 / info@bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

3) Big Brother Watch led 25 rights groups and MPs in a call for an urgent stop to police facial recognition in September 2019

4) Big Brother Watch and Baroness Jenny Jones are pursuing a crowdfunded legal challenge against the Metropolitan Police and Home Secretary over facial recognition surveillance. The case was paused pending the Met’s decision whether or not to continue using the technology. Given today’s announcement, Big Brother Watch is urgently considering next legal steps. Further updates will be publicised in due course.