Face scanning smartwatches are being considered as a tool to further crack down on migrants convicted of a crime. A data protection impact assessment document indicates that the Home Office and Ministry of Justice intends for migrants with a criminal history to submit 5 photographs of themselves everyday using the watch’s camera, which will then be scanned against a images on Home Office systems through facial recognition software.
Migrants in the UK’s Home Office Satellite Tracking Service will be subject to daily monitoring, conducted through the watch or an ankle tag. Buddi Limited, the technology firm contracted to manufacture the watches, will be instrumental to the program.
Legal and policy officer for Big Brother Watch, Madeleine Stone, questioned the lack of justification for the scheme:
“This intrusive technology is a new low for a government obsessed with subjecting migrants and refugees to increasingly dehumanising surveillance,” Stone told Gizmodo. “Facial recognition technology is notoriously inaccurate and misidentifications could lead to serious consequences for vulnerable individuals. The Home Office has failed to demonstrate that this costly electronic tracking is necessary and should abandon these plans.”