Liberty Responds to Ethics Panel Report on Facial Recognition

29 May 2019

Liberty has responded to the London Policing Ethics Panel’s report, released today, which finds that facial recognition technology should not be deployed “at the expense of valued liberties”.

Facial recognition technology captures the biometric data of everyone who passes the cameras, violating our right to privacy and undermining our freedom of expression. The technology also discriminates against women and people of colour – it disproportionately misidentifies those people, making them more likely to be subject to a police stop due to an incorrect match.

Megan Goulding, lawyer at Liberty, said: “Facial recognition is an inherently intrusive technology that breaches our privacy rights. It risks fundamentally altering our public spaces, forcing us to monitor where we go and who with, seriously undermining our freedom of expression. Today’s report rightly recognises a number of these concerns. It is now for police and parliamentarians to face up to the facts: facial recognition represents an inherent risk to our rights, and has no place on our streets.”

Liberty is taking legal action, on behalf of Cardiff resident Ed Bridges, against South Wales Police over its use of facial recognition. This is the first legal case against police use of the technology in the world, and was heard in the Cardiff Administrative Court last week.