London becomes Big Brother

The Metropolitan Police have announced they are launching cameras that will operate on the streets of London and will use live facial recognition.

The good news is, is that the prime motive for these cameras is to reduce crime, by running the images against the police database with suspects that are wanted for serious and violent crimes. We have the technology available to us, so why don’t we use it for a good purpose?

Well for starters that how they sold the idea of CCTV on the roads, this was supposed to make driving around this wonderful country better and safer, instead they have now become glorified traffic inspectors whose only power is to issue a ticket the offender receives a few days later in the post.

Liberty and rights groups have a number of concerns regarding the deployment of this type of technology, in the first instance there are accuracy concerns: Will this be worse for black and minority ethnic people? The training that the software has had during the trial was predominately on white faces, of police staff whose images were already stored in the database.

There are some positives with this system, it could also be used to find missing children or vulnerable adults. This is surely a good thing, but for now the main operation seems to be targeted on those wanted for serious and violent crimes.

There are many legal concerns regarding this, people’s privacy and human rights should remain protected. How long is the data stored for? They say 3 months but how will we know, for definite, that the data has been removed when they say they will?

Here are the stats:

According to the BBC, the results suggested that 70% of wanted suspects will be identified and only 1 in 1,000 would be falsely verified.

However, independent studies suggest that only 8 out of 42 of the matches were “verifiably correct”

How does facial recognition work?

  1. Photos on the database are mapped by a selected software. They pick out all the key and distinguishable features of your face.
  2. The camera system then scans all the faces in the view.
  3. The faces are then compared to the photos on the database.
  4. If there is a potential match, this is then flagged and dealt with accordingly.

Do we sacrifice yet another layer of privacy and anonymity to try and stop those of criminals? Does it mean, that if we don’t, we are biting off our nose to spite our face?

There are millions of people who invite this type of invasive technology into their homes, indeed they part with hard earned money for it; it can hear them, talk to them, video record every aspect outside and inside their homes. If they can do this in the name of security and convenience you’d think being recorded by police they wouldn’t bat an eyelid.