Facial recognition know-how being utilized by police forces in Britain – together with London’s Metropolitan Police Service – will get identities mistaken 81% of the time, a brand new report has revealed.

Analysis by the College of Essex Human Rights Centre has recognized “significant flaws” with the best way reside facial recognition (LFR) know-how was trialled by the Metropolitan Police .

These embody issues with the know-how itself, in addition to the best way it’s being deployed.

LFR know-how maps faces in a crowd then compares outcomes with a “watchlist” of pictures, which may embody suspects, lacking folks and individuals of curiosity.

With a purpose to compile the report , researchers had been granted unprecedented entry to the ultimate six of the ten trials run by the Metropolitan Police between June 2018 and February 2019.


They joined officers on location within the LFR management rooms and engaged with officers responding on the bottom. Additionally they attended briefing and de-briefing classes, and planning conferences.

Throughout the six trials that had been evaluated, the LFR know-how made a complete of 42 matches.

16 of the 42 computer-generated matches had been judged to be “non-credible” – that’s, officers didn’t consider the picture recorded by the LFR know-how matched the picture on the watchlist.

The remaining 26 of those matches had been thought-about by the Metropolitan Police to be sufficiently credible to cease people and carry out an identification examine.

Nonetheless, 14 had been verified as incorrect matches following an identification examine, and 4 of the tried interventions had been unsuccessful, as people had been misplaced within the crowd.

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Because of this, the studies authors can solely say with absolute certainty that face recognition matches had been appropriate on eight of the 42 events (19%).

The report criticised the accuracy of the watchlist, highlighting that info was typically not present, which means folks had been stopped regardless of the actual fact their case had already been addressed.

It additionally states that LFR was approached in a fashion much like conventional CCTV, which fails to bear in mind components such because the intrusive nature of LFR, and using biometric processing.

The blending of trials with operational deployments additionally raises numerous points concerning consent, public legitimacy and belief, in accordance with the report.

The authors conclude that it’s “highly possible” the Metropolitan Police’s use of LFR to-date can be held illegal if challenged in courtroom.

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“This report raises significant concerns regarding the human rights law compliance of the trials,” mentioned Dr Daragh Murray, one of many report’s authors.

“The authorized foundation for the trials was unclear and is unlikely to fulfill the ‘in accordance with the regulation’ check established by human rights regulation.

“It doesn’t seem that an efficient effort was made to establish human rights harms or to ascertain the need of LFR.

“Ultimately, the impression is that human rights compliance was not built into the Metropolitan Police’s systems from the outset, and was not an integral part of the process.”

In mild of their findings, the authors are calling for all reside trials of LFR to be ceased till these considerations are addressed.


They notice that it’s important that human rights compliance is ensured earlier than deployment, and that there be an applicable stage of public scrutiny and debate on a nationwide stage.

After reviewing the report, the Metropolitan Police has chosen to not train its proper of reply.

The information comes as one other police drive is dealing with a authorized problem over its use of facial recognition surveillance .

Cardiff resident Ed Bridges is bringing the case in opposition to South Wales Police, after it used LFR know-how to establish demonstrators at a peaceable anti-arms protest in 2018, which he attended.

Bridges, represented by marketing campaign group Liberty, argues that the police’s use of this know-how is illegal, because it violates the human rights to privateness, freedom of meeting, and freedom from discrimination.


“Having police indiscriminately scanning us all as we go about our daily lives makes our privacy rights meaningless,” mentioned Bridges, who  crowdfunded the case  .

“The inevitable result’s that individuals will change their behaviour and really feel scared to protest or specific themselves freely – briefly, we’ll be much less free.

“There isn’t any regulation permitting facial recognition. Parliament hasn’t debated it. The general public hasn’t been consulted.

“There’s not even any guidance on how to deploy it, and no independent oversight to make sure its use is appropriate and our rights are protected.”

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