Facial recognition: ‘No justification’ for Police Scotland to use technology

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Protesters demonstrating against the use of facial recognition at football matches in Cardiff

MSPs have warned there is no justification for using live facial recognition following privacy and human rights concerns.

A report said the software would be a “radical departure” from the current practice of policing by consent. Police Scotland said it hoped to use the software by 2026, but later put plans on hold. The technology can scan crowds of people and cross-reference faces with police databases.

The report from the justice sub-committee on policing was published as part of their inquiry into the advancement of live facial recognition.

It highlighted the technology was “known to discriminate against females and those from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities”.

The report added: “The use of live facial recognition technology would be a radical departure from Police Scotland’s fundamental principle of policing by consent.”

The committee also said Police Scotland would need to ensure any technology in use would need to be “provided for in legislation and meets human rights and data protection requirements”.

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