...By Muyiwa Aderinto for TDPel Media.
Debate Erupts over Police Use of Facial Recognition Cameras at Beyoncé Concert in Cardiff
Commentary: The passage discusses the use of live facial recognition (LFR) cameras by the South Wales Police at a Beyoncé concert in Cardiff.
The move has been met with criticism from campaigners who label it as “China-like surveillance.” The cameras were employed to identify wanted individuals and ensure safety during the event.
The South Wales Police clarified that the facial recognition cameras were deployed in Cardiff city center, not inside the stadium itself, to support law enforcement and safeguard children and vulnerable individuals.
The technology aids in identifying individuals wanted for priority offenses.
Human rights campaigners have expressed concerns about the use of LFR technology. The Surveillance Camera watchdog,
Fraser Sampson, emphasized the need for further work to address bias in its implementation.
He warned that the planned new law might undermine the regulations governing surveillance cameras, potentially leading to an increase in China-like surveillance practices.
European lawmakers have recently shown support for a ban on live facial recognition cameras in public spaces.
These cameras use artificial intelligence to compare faces with watchlists, which can include individuals wanted for criminal activities.
South Wales Police clarified that biometric data of individuals not on the watchlist would not be stored and would be immediately deleted.
The CCTV footage captured by the cameras is retained for up to 31 days. The decision to stop someone based on an alert from the cameras is made by police officers, not the technology itself.
Police Scotland confirmed that they do not use live facial recognition technology, and the Metropolitan Police stated that they would inform the public in advance if they planned to implement it.
Previous instances of live facial recognition usage include scanning 68,000 faces against a watchlist of over 10,000 during the Coronation event.
South Wales Police had previously faced legal challenges over the use of face recognition cameras, with a court ruling that their deployment since 2017 was unlawful.
Critics argue that facial recognition technology does not significantly enhance public safety but instead reinforces patterns of discrimination within policing.
They highlight concerns about privacy violations and urge a complete ban on the technology.
The Policing Minister, Chris Philp, expressed a desire to embed facial recognition technology in policing, and the Home Office is reportedly considering ways to support the police in this regard.
However, concerns about bias and the need for public confidence-building efforts remain before widespread adoption can occur.
Overall, the use of live facial recognition cameras at the Beyoncé concert in Cardiff has sparked debates around privacy, discrimination, and the appropriate use of surveillance technologies in public spaces.