Big Brother Watch reaction to the publication of the Government’s Review of the Use and Retention of Custody Images

Renate Samson, Chief of Executive of Big Brother Watch said following the publication today of the Government’s Review of the Use and Retention of Custody Images:

 “Finally the Home Office have published the long overdue review of the use and retention of custody images, providing some welcome clarity regarding this fast growing database police forces add to and search through.

 “Whilst the opportunity for people to have their custody photo deleted from the database is welcome, we believe they shouldn’t have to ask, it should be an automatic process. The explanation as to why this can’t be done reveals a poorly designed  IT system which is impacting innocent people’s right to privacy. Going forward a system should be created whereby those who are found to be innocent have their images deleted automatically, as is the case with DNA and fingerprints.

 “Whilst the review addresses custody photos it makes no recommendations regarding the revelation that three police forces are using facial recognition systems to create biometric records of people’s faces. We trust that the Government’s other long overdue strategy into biometrics will deal with this when it is eventually published.”