Tech: Will Face Recognition Software Lead to False Arrests?

South Wales Police have confirmed their intention to use facial recognition technology – rolling the application out to 50 police officers for an initial three-month trial. This will enable them to take a snapshot and analyse it immediately to answer the pressing question, “Are you really the person we’re looking for?”.

This introduction comes at a time when the effectiveness of facial recognition technology is still being challenged in court.  Despite the positive decision by the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to add a further 20,000 police officers across the country, it is widely understood within senior policing that the benefits to increased quality and efficiency of policing come from a combination of investment in technology and additional new police officers. Senior police executives view the use of biometric technologies as an innovation that can make a transformative step-change in digital policing.

Jason Tooley, board member of techUK and Chief Revenue Officer at Veridium comments:

“As police forces recognise that technology innovation for officers can drive improved policing, there is clearly a need to focus on how the technology can be adopted quickly and how public acceptance for this technology can be increased.  The use of biometrics can support identity verification on-demand and at scale as has been proven in many other countries where officers currently use consumerised technology. ”

“As part of a wider digital policing initiative, it is imperative for police forces to take a strategic approach as they trial biometric technologies, and not prematurely focus on a single biometric approach. This strategy would take advantage of other biometric techniques such as digital fingerprinting which ensure a higher level of public consent due to the maturity of fingerprints as an identity verification technique. 

It’s clear that alleviating privacy concerns need to be prioritised by the police within the overall strategy for using technology in this area. The public need to be able to see the value of the technology innovation through results in order to advance consent and acceptance by citizens.”

“With the rapid rate of innovation in the field, a multi-modal biometric strategy that allows the police to use the right biometric techniques for the right scenario will accelerate the benefits associated with digital policing.”

About Veridium

Veridium’s authentication platform enables companies to secure identity and privacy in an all-digital world by proving you are who you say you are with biometrics and your smartphone; utilizing new, innovative technology like its 4 Fingers Touchless ID to ensure compliance, whilst also providing a convenient, secure experience.

Our authentication platform and proprietary biometrics provide strong authentication, eliminating the need for passwords, tokens, or PINs – delivering multi factor security with single-step convenience at a lower total cost of ownership than traditional MFA solutions.

Insurance Edge Comment:

In an era when the Metropolitan Police are happy to throw millions of pounds into a witch hunt, based on the dubious accusations made by one man, people are right to be concerned about a state-organised database of faces. Who polices that data, who has the right to challenge the positive ID made in the street by an officer, or perhaps a PCSO, before someone entirely innocent is dragged away in public, arrested, has DNA taken and perhaps loses their job and their home, due to a `software glitch?’

It isn’t good enough to say mistakes happen. ANY data taken by the Police, or other agencies acting on their behalf, must be accurately recorded, filed securely, not shared without consent and of course returned, or destroyed, on demand, unless a live investigation is ongoing. Nobody should be named until charges are brought, especially when the only evidence is a positive match on an image database. When errors happen, and lives are ruined, then the victims must have the right to large sums in compensation. 

We had enough of the `your face fits’ policing back in the bad old days, with wrongful convictions from the Birmingham Six to Barry Bulsara. Let’s not allow Orwellian technology to enable the prejudices of the State to destroy lives in the future.


About alastair walker 11354 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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