UK police use of PimEyes sparks privacy concerns 

Occurred: April 2024

UK police officers recently accessed controversial facial recognition service PimEyes over 2,000 times, contrary to their own stated policies and procedures.

An iNews/Liberty investigation revealed that London's Metropolitan Police Service (MPF) computers accessed PimEyes 2,337 times in a recent three-month period

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPF) responded by saying that the recorded instances of use may have been related to officers conducting research on the software. The MPF said it had strengthened safeguards and blocked access to the site on Met devices.

The incident highlighted the use of facial recognition by UK law enforcement authorities and the lack of transparency around its use. 

Privacy campaigners fear that unrestricted facial recognition poses a significant threat to individual liberties, including the potential erosion of privacy caused by misuse of the technology, and concerns about the potential for stalking, harassment and the creation of a surveillance state.

Operator: Metropolitian Police Service (MPS)
Developer: PimEyes
Country: UK
Sector: Govt - police
Purpose: Identify criminal suspects
Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Privacy
Transparency: Governance