UK police deny false face recognition arrest claim
01 September 2017 12:16 GMT

Police in Britain have denied a rights group's claim that face recognition deployed at a carnival led to a wrongful arrest.

An investigative report by the group Liberty details how an individual was identified entering the carnival who had an arrest warrant for a rioting offence.

It writes that police arrested that person but their data was stale.

Between the construction of their watch list and Carnival, that individual had already been arrested – and was no longer wanted.

However, the Met told tech magazine The Register that while one person was "identified" and "spoken to", it denied they were arrested.

"We have always maintained that it was a continued trial to test the technology and assess if it could assist police in identifying known offenders in large events, in order to protect the wider public," said a Met public relations operative who gave her name only as "Camilla".

"Whilst we are trialling this technology we have engaged with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, the Information Commissioner, the Biometrics Commissioners, and Big Brother Watch. Liberty were invited to observe its use at the Carnival this year," added "Camilla".

Liberty had serious misgivings about the trial at Notting Hill Carnival.

"None of our concerns about facial recognition have registered with the police so far. The lack of a legal basis. The lack of parliamentary or public consent. The lack of oversight. The fact that fundamental human rights are being breached.

Last week, Paul Wiles, UK Biometrics Commissioner had spoken out over the use of facial recognition rechnology at the Notting Hill Carnival.

In a public statement, Wiles said that while this technology has the potential to be a really useful crime fighting tool, that "we are not there yet".

"It [face recognition] needs to be properly tested and evaluated if it is going to be effective and it will need to be handled carefully by the police and the government if it is going to be trusted by the public".