back to article London's Metropolitan Police flip the switch: Smile, fellow citizens... you're undergoing Live Facial Recognition

The Metropolitan Police are using live facial recognition (LFR) in various locations in central London today after spending two years testing the technology. Most recently spotted at Oxford Circus, the vans are equipped with NeoFace's recognition software which runs captured images against a pre-specified list of wanted crimes …


        1. Bernard M. Orwell

          Re: Just the beginning

          Those booth curtains are short for a reason.

  1. wolfetone Silver badge

    Yet another reason not to go to London.

    For the moment.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    No-one would have believed in the twentieth year of the twentyfirst century that more and more of this world was being watched keenly and closely by tiny intelligences and yet full of their own importance; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

    With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter, unaware or uncaring that the tiny intelligences were convinced of the wrong doing of every human.........

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Do we get to kill them all off with a virus that their bodies have no defense against?!? Cos I think we have a candidate for that!

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Hmmm? Now there's/here's a Novel AI Approach ... Real SP00Key Stuff and No Nonsense.

      With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter, unaware or uncaring that the tiny intelligences were convinced of the wrong doing of every human......... .... Chris G

      ..... and are thus themselves resolved and EMPowered to do everything almightily different and better than ever the systems of the establishment are programmed to do, for the intelligences they use are of an infinitely greater source with immaculate forces, is something to look forward to, Chris G.

      SMARTR IT guarantees it Presented for Beta Future Command with AI Control of the Virtual Machine with Global Operating Devices ...... you know, those simply complex ubiquitous keyboard interfaces at practically everyone's fingertips these 0days, nowadays.

      Coming now soon to all media screens surrounding you for escaping to ..... and no kidding.

  3. onemark03 Bronze badge

    93 per cent misidentification rate

    @ davcrav:


    The real worry is why the police deployed technology with a 93 failure rate in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 93 per cent misidentification rate

      Sir Humphrey Appleby nailed it:

      - We must do something.

      - This is something.

      - Therefore, we must do this.

      But that was comedy :/

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Brother is here

    I am also wearing my mask

  5. Roger B

    I read somewhere about the UK loosing its protection under GDPR, google has already emailed UK registered users apparently? Would this allow police forces to use Facebook/social media photos with their LFR system giving them a bigger pool of known faces, even if those individuals have a criminal record or not?

  6. Barrie Shepherd

    Why now?

    Am I alone in thinking that the Met's urge to push this out so quickly is to get some high profile "wins" under their belt to use in the future debates about regulation of the technology.

    Being able to put forward the argument that "Look it let us find these lost children, and we caught a person accused of rape and a serial parking offender" will moderate the public abhorrence of the overall Orwellian project. Taken to the extreme the Met would argue that we all should have implanted transponders scanned by readers at every road intersection and rail station entrance.

    Of course the public will never know how the "watch list" will be construcred and even if it is used. Ultimatly the recordings will be archived along with the identitues of everyone seen in the area at that time.

    Very soon policing will be carried out by a bunch of crapita operatives, sat behind banks of screens. There will be no visual police presence in streets consequently the deterent effect will be lost.

    The Met, and other forces, are forgetting that policing should be balanced and with public support. They don't get mine for this invasive, suspect technology.

    Any further news about the BTP use of the tech around rail hubs?

    1. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Why now?

      @Barrie Shepherd: "The Met, ,,,, are forgetting that policing should be balanced and with public support."

      I think the modern police force have pretty much torn up the nine principles and are now just using a paramilitary handbook. OK, so they have some right scrotes to deal with, but I'm not prepared to be treated like a scrote because of that. Even scrotes need habeas corpus.

  7. Robert Grant Silver badge

    This can be combated with an adversarial technique

    To counter NeoFace, everyone in London should buy and wear one of these:

  8. Black Betty

    Big Brother is here and he isn't going away.

    This is the state of affairs and it isn't going to change, so we're just going to have to figure out how to implement this in the most effective and least intrusive way possible. Only high quality images in the database, preferably including part or full profile; Secondary camera to zoom in on subjects of interest for a high-res comparison; decently speced computers; parameters tuned to err on the side of caution; a human in the loop to make the final call.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Big Brother is here and he isn't going away.

      Why isn't it going to change? The police are there to look after us with our consent, even if they have forgotten that bit temporarily. Sufficient public pressure would put this crap back in its box.

      1. Roj Blake

        Re: Big Brother is here and he isn't going away.

        In the UK the police's primary mission is to maintain public order. That thing about solving crimes and keeping the public safe is just a means to that end.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Big Brother is here and he isn't going away.

          Indeed, the ends justifies the means :/

        2. DropBear

          Re: Big Brother is here and he isn't going away.

          That is universally true. Police everywhere around the world is the blunt end of the state's domestic power. It's not meant to protect, it's meant to suppress. Criminals just happen to be closest and the most immediate target when it swings, but by no means the only ones hit.

  9. Roj Blake

    The most egregious thing about this... the way the warning signs are propped against the van, so you only see them once you've been scanned.

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: The most egregious thing about this...

      It is so they get a clearer view of your face when you stop to read the sign.

      The people who are really in control are "The illiterati".

  10. PapaD

    Adversarial glasses

    There are a number of companies doing research into, and building prototypes of what they call Adversarial glasses - essentially mundane looking glasses that baffle facial recognition systems, making it impossible to be recognised - often even as a human face, nevermind a specific person.

    The ones i've seen definitely look just like normal prescription glasses. If facial recognition becomes to pervasive, this technology will continue to develop to match it.

    There are other technologies being developed as well, what amounts to optical masking lights built into hats and clothing, preventing cameras from getting a decent picture.

    1. Roj Blake

      Re: Adversarial glasses

      That's precisely the sort of thing that will get banned if it becomes popular.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I could only find this ......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I could only find this ......

      You don't appear to be aware that we now live in an authoritarian dictatorship.

      They never took any notice any notice of those polls even when their were millions of signatories - they not going respond now we have a one party state.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flesh coloured balaclavas and dark glasses are going to be very popular,

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The police

    are not your friend.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    delayed or immediate

    re deal

    00kay so heres the goose

    fnl chk performed prev mrdrs proven

    ur2decide whether down or both IT and its meat would be good for the charity purposes

    trck my crd/

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Im researching ways (face accessoires) to transform into an unidentifiable identity for the surveillance cameras. Im really curious who would be interested in wearing them!?


POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021