Big Brother Watch response to “utterly damning” review of police facial recognition

Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said:

This report is an utterly damning conclusion to the police’s dangerous experimentation with live facial recognition. It confirms what we have long warned – it’s inaccurate, lawless, and must be stopped urgently. This message is now coming not just from us, but from the independent reviewers commissioned by the Metropolitan Police themselves. The only question that remains is when will the police finally drop live facial recognition? The public’s freedoms are at stake and it is long overdue.

This authoritative and detailed report offers a series of seriously worrying insights, from police attempting to spin stats to conceal overwhelming inaccuracy rates, to the inclusion of people on watchlists who were not actually wanted by police.

This China-style surveillance is undemocratic and has no place in Britain. It is alarming that the police have been let off the leash for so long and allowed to make serious policy decisions about our civil liberties.

Given the legal challenge we are bringing against the Met and this definitive report, we trust the force will now decide not to use live facial recognition any further. If they do use it again, we’ll see them in Court.

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