Facial Recognition at Liberty Stadium: Big Brother Watch & Football Supporters’ Association Wales Comments

South Wales Police has vowed to scan football fans with live facial recognition at the Cardiff City v Swansea City football match tomorrow.

The game takes place at Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Sunday 27th October (kick off 12pm).

It’s the first known use of the surveillance technology at a football match since a controversial use at a UEFA Champions’ League match in 2017, where over 2,500 fans were wrongly misidentified and ‘flagged’ by the system, and their photos taken by police.

Outraged fans have vowed to wear Halloween masks in protest of the surveillance cameras.

QUOTES

Vince Alm, spokesperson for Football Supporters’ Association Wales said:

We strongly oppose the police decision to use facial recognition. It’s just a local football match, yet we haven’t had a say and we can’t opt out.

Thousands of innocent fans who have never committed a crime in their lives, including children, will have their faces scanned and data collected by police. This is completely unnecessary and disproportionate.

It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to see in a surveillance state.

 

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch said:

We stand by fans who are rightly alarmed and outraged. The police decision to target them with intrusive mass surveillance treats all fans as suspects, damages trust and is a total waste of public money.

Police are eroding basic civil liberties whilst politicians look the other way.

Live facial recognition has completely failed in the court of public opinion and must be urgently banned.”

 

NOTES:

  • Spokespeople are available for interview. Please contact 07730 439257 / info@bigbrotherwatch.org.uk
  • Big Brother Watch and the Football Supporters’ Association were among 25 groups and leading MPs who called for an urgent stop to police facial recognition last month, September 2019
  • Big Brother Watch is pursuing a crowdfunded legal challenge against the Metropolitan Police and Home Secretary over facial recognition surveillance