Met Police retrospective facial recognition

Released: September 2021

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WIRED has discovered that London's Metropolitan Police Service is buying a new, retrospective facial recognition system that will enable them to process historic CCTV, social media, and other images when identifying and tracking down suspects. 

Critics are concerned the system, which extends the Met's existing facial recognition capabiilities, could easily be used for other purposes, and may entrench racially and otherwise discriminatory policing. 

The Met's contract was discovered when the Mayor of London's office published an approved proposal for the system, which forms part of a £3 million, four-year deal with NEC Corporation's UK subsidiary Northgate Public Services.

In an interview with The Register, the UK government’s Surveillance Camera Commissioner Professor Fraser Sampson argued 'We need as a minimum a single set of clear principles by which those using the biometric and surveillance camera systems will be held to account, transparently and auditably.'

Operator: Metropolitan Police Service
Developer: Northgate Public Services (NEC)
Country: UK
Sector: Govt - police
Purpose: Identify and track criminal suspects
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy; Surveillance; Dual/multi-use; Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: System
Published: September 2021