New legislation needed to regulate police facial recognition technology

phys.org | 2/7/2019 | Staff
hey13 (Posted by) Level 4
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Facial recognition technology, being trialled by two major police forces in Britain, should be subjected to more rigorous testing and transparency, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Monash University.

Facial recognition technology (FRT) involves the identification of an individual based on an analysis of the geometric features of his or her face, and a comparison between the algorithm created from the captured image and one already stored, such as from a custody image or social media account. The technology was first tested in public gatherings in 2014, when Leicestershire Police trialled a 'Neoface' facial recognition system, later using the technology to identify 'known offenders' at a music festival with 90,000 concertgoers.

Leicestershire - Police - Forces - FRT—the - Metropolitan

The Leicestershire Police and the other two forces trialling FRT—the Metropolitan Police Service and the South Wales Police—argue the technology is lawful and its use in surveillance operations is proportionate. But researchers from UEA and Monash University in Australia say the technology could violate human rights. They argue there has not been sufficient statistical information about the trials made publically available for scrutiny. The limited outcomes that have been shared, the researchers say, have shown high false-positive identification rates and a low number of positive matches with 'known offenders'.

Furthermore, the researchers say the trials are a costly use of public funds: £200,000 for the Met Police trials and £2.6 million for those run by the South Wales Police.

Research - Dr - Joe - Purshouse - UEA

The research, led by Dr. Joe Purshouse of the UEA School of Law, and Prof Liz Campbell of Monash University, will be published on February 8, 2019 in the journal Criminal Law Review.

Dr. Purshouse, a lecturer in criminal law, said: "These FRT trials have been operating in a legal vacuum. There is currently no legal framework specifically regulating the police use of FRT.

Parliament - Rules

"Parliament should set out rules governing...
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