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26th February 2020

Solent postdoctoral researcher, Dr Garfield Benjamin discusses the rise in use of facial recognition technology by the police, airports and even shopping centres.

The UK is currently witnessing a tug of war over facial recognition. On the streets of London and in South Wales, live systems have been deployed by the police, supported by the UK government. But in the Scottish parliament, the Justice Sub-Committee on Policing is trying to halt use of the technology.

I recently gave evidence to the Scottish sub-committee’s inquiry, highlighting the cost of this technology in terms of its damage to freedom, trust and inclusivity in society. This comes not just from the use of facial recognition but in the ways it is designed and tested as well. And yet the benefits are often exaggerated - or have yet to be proven.

Facial recognition systems have already been tested and deployed across the UK. Investigative journalist Geoff White has created a map to show where systems are being, or have been, used, identifying dozens of sites across the country. Another map for the US shows a similar situation. If you see facial recognition technologies being used somewhere you can let such sites know to add the location and details. The results can be surprising.

Read Dr Garfield Benjamin's article in full on The Conversation