• STV
  • MySTV

Call for moratorium on facial recognition technology

Academics have raised concerns about 'deficiencies' in such new technology.

Warning: Academics have raised concerns about 'deficiencies' in such new technology.
Warning: Academics have raised concerns about 'deficiencies' in such new technology. Pixabay

Holyrood is being urged to recommend a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology - especially by the police.

Academics raised concerns about "deficiencies" in such new technology, and also claimed it was "intrusive".

In submissions to MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's Justice Sub-Committee on Policing, they argued for a moratorium to be put in place.

In its submission, Police Scotland was clear the force has "no current plans to introduce live facial recognition software or any other new biometric technology".

But Angela Daly, from Strathclyde Law School, urged the committee to "become an international leader in ethical technology policy by recommending a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in Scotland, especially by police forces".

She argued for that because of "the deficiencies of facial recognition technology, the intrusive ways in which facial recognition technology is already being used to monitor indiscriminately the general public, and not only those suspected of a crime, and the less-than ethical conditions in which facial recognition technology is being researched and developed".

Dr Daly stated: "I urge the committee to consider deeply the impact on the privacy and other human rights of the general public in being subjected to invasive mass-monitoring by facial recognition technology used by police."

Dr Garfield Benjamin, from Solent University in Southampton, also argued the Parliament should introduce a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in public places.

"This should ideally be permanent, or at least until significant regulatory frameworks have been put in place," he said.

He added: "Should facial recognition ever be deployed in Scotland, an independent review and commissioner should be established.

"Police Scotland should focus their already constrained resources on supporting officers more directly to perform their duties and build trust with communities."

He spoke out against the use of such technology, saying: "There is an inversion of innocence with facial recognition.

"When a member of the public enters a space monitored by facial recognition, they are automatically placed in a police line-up.

"This fundamentally changes the role and power of the police, from one in which evidence is a case must be built to prove guilt into one in which everyone is assumed guilty all the time.

"Should Police Scotland or, indeed, any police force go ahead with the use of facial recognition then they are making an active choice to shift policing into a state of constant surveillance, forcing citizens to live beneath a constant mechanic gaze."

Gillian MacDonald, assistant chief constable with Police Scotland, said that "fundamentally, opportunities exist to use new technologies, such as facial recognition, to enhance police and law enforcement capabilities".

Police Scotland already has the capability to carry out retrospective facial matching for the prevention and detection of crime using the Police National Database, she said.

She stressed: "We have no current plans to introduce live facial recognition software or any other new biometric technology."

But ACC MacDonald also said: "To ensure Police Scotland operates efficiently and effectively it is vital that we continue to explore, scrutinise and adapt by embracing new technologies, including facial recognition, and, subject to regulatory parameters, invest for the long term."

She said the force welcomed plans to establish a Scottish Biometrics Commissioner, adding that Police Scotland would await the decision of MSPs on the legislation for this before proceeding with any proposed use of such biometric technology.

Meanwhile sub-committee convener John Finnie said MSPs would "closely study" all the submissions they had received.

He said: "While the police service need to be able to fight crime effectively, any intrusion into citizens' privacy must be proportionate. We look forward to beginning our inquiry."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.