Biometrics ethics group addresses public-private use of facial recognition

by Jeremy

A publicly accessible record on the collaborative uses of live facial recognition (LFR) should be created to reduce the secrecy around public-private partnerships, says an advisory body to the Home Office.

CCTV facial recognition 2 adobe

The Biometric and Forensic Ethics Group (BFEG) – an advisory, non-departmental public body sponsored by the Home Office that has a remit to focus on the ethical aspects of technologies that produce biometric data and identifiers – has outlined several issues that should be addressed before public-private collaborations in the use of LFR.

The publication of a briefing note in January 2020 follows a nearly year-long evidence-gathering mission by the BFEG, particularly on how the technology is used collaboratively between police forces and private entities.

On creating a publicly accessible record, the BFEG said police forces should actively list documents on their websites related to each deployment of LFR technology that identifies the purpose of the collaboration, the identity of the private company involved, and the types and amount of data being shared, with whom and for how long.

The most notable example of UK law enforcement collaborating with private sector entities on LFR is the King’s Cross Estate, which was revealed to be using the technology across a 67-acre area of central London in August 2019.

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