back to article Those facial recognition trials in the UK? They should be banned, warns Parliamentary committee

The UK government should slap a "moratorium on the current use of facial recognition technology, with "no further trials" until there is legal framework in place, a Parliamentary committee has warned today. In an excoriating report (PDF), the Science and Technology Committee expressed a series of concerns over the government's …

  1. JimmyPage Silver badge

    It's not illegal when the government does it.

    Who else is waiting to hear that gem ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not illegal when the government does it.

      Not me, its cliché as fuck.

  2. Adrian 4

    Home Office

    Where does one complain about the home office ?

    They seem to be failing in every possible way, and have done for years.

    1. ElectricFox
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Home Office

      At the polling station

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Home Office

      >Where does one complain about the home office ?

      European Court of Human Rights ?

      Oh sorry we 'fixed' that loophole

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Home Office

        Nope, that route is still available, regardless of what Rees-Mogg, Boris and the other rabid Brextremists say.

        The ECHR is nowt to do with the EU.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Home Office

          >The ECHR is nowt to do with the EU.

          Saintly Theresa said we were also leaving the ECHR (and Euratom etc)

          The ECHR isn't part of the Eu but being a member is a requirement of being in the Eu.

          So one of the 'benefits' of leaving the Eu is that you are free to leave the ECHR (or more likely you remain in it but ignore all its rulings)

  3. b0llchit Silver badge

    Deaf ears cannot be matched visually

    Latest call to halt creepy tech likely to fall on deaf ears

    Of course it will be ignored. The tech requires visual recognition and not listening to anything you say. If you want someone to listen, then you need an integrated Siri/Alexa/Google. However, then the NHS may want to have a say in that too because they ensured that no private information would be exposed while listening to the criminalspatients.

    Or, maybe, just maybe, the ones who should be listening, already have appointments with NHS personnel to have their heads checked out. You may simply ask Alexa for their whereabouts. No need to use facial recognition.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    until there is legal framework in place

    and this is, essentially, the Future: wait until we make it into law, then do it. And the law will, as always, include a meaningless clause about "balancing the rights to privacy, blah, blah, blah".

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "we support an open debate about this, including how we can reduce the privacy impact on the public"

    What a bizarre choice of words, when what the Home Office clearly means is "How can we implement this without people creating big a fuss over it?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      privacy impact on the public = privacy of the public

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    As soon as we have collected everyone's bio ID, then we'll make a law. Thanks for your patience.

  7. veti Silver badge

    Missing detail

    Could the committee suggest what a satisfactory "legal framework" would look like, and how we would know if we had one?

    1. Oliver Mayes

      Re: Missing detail

      It's private, you'll know it's there because they will tell you that it's there and you will be satisfied or else.

  8. Trixr

    We support an open debate

    Translation: "openly debate" as much as you like; we'll do what we want to do anyway.

    One of the most successful IT projects I was involved in was deploying a new website for a university department. I gave them a choice of light green vs dark green for the site template and asked staff to vote. 90% plus responded to the survey and commented to me subsequently that the site looked great (dark green won), and that the "consultation" I did with the staff demonstrated I truly cared about the user experience. That care obviously flowed through in terms of how good the site looked and its functionality. By the way, this department included Information Technology under its umbrella, and taught web design in some of the courses. (I mean, the site was fine, fairly standard Dreamweaver templates, a bit of javascript for menus, clean and navigable, nice but not ostentatious header images - typical early 2000s)

    I managed not to smirk too much at the fulsome compliments on my "consultation" and its impact on the results, and we all went on happily thereafter.

    1. EBG

      I was waiting ...

      .. for the punch-line. Then the HoD ingored it. It was against Faculty policy. Whatever.

      What kind of wierd univeristy was this.

  9. tfewster

    A Home Office spokesperson got in touch to say: ..."The Government believes ..."

    Hang on, the Home Office is not the Government.

    Of course, a Parliamentary Select Committee is not the Government either. But they're rather more likely to be be impartial (multi-partisan).

    Oi, SadJav - Until you have the governance in place, stop the snooping. Allowing it to continue until the courts rule is "pre-empting the outcome of this case".

  10. Wobbly World

    Now we know...

    Always wandered what Boris was going to do with 20,000 more police officers, they are going to be needed to delete all those records/facial images manually!!! Boris has it all planed out, should of known, after all he’s got Brexit sorted Dh0ooo!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 20,000 police officers

      Nah... They'll be there to stop many of us leaving after the inevitable No Deal fiasco plays out.

  11. ParasiteParty

    "we support an open debate about this"

    "we support an open debate about this"

    No, you don't. Much like a drive towards a cashless society.

    "including how we can reduce the privacy impact on the public"

    Reduce impact by not doing it, shithead.

  12. simonlb Silver badge

    'The Government believes that there is a legal framework'

    You are the Government, so therefore you should know if there is a legal framework, and provide the appropriate evidence to confirm that.

    Believing something is one thing, but it doesn't necessarily make it real. Or legal.

    1. Psmo

      Re: 'The Government believes that there is a legal framework'

      The Government also believed that the people needed ID cards.

      Take it! Take it! Stop complaining!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'The Government believes that there is a legal framework'

        beware -cards will become chip implants

        - what if you don't have cards with you at all times (jogging, swimming, cycling)

        - what if cards get stolen or 'lost'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sith Lords

      I will make it legal.

  13. A K Stiles

    The government already have my biometrics...

    ...for the last at least one passport renewal. And the facial recognition system between the details on the chip in that passport and the camera that looks at my face seem to work pretty well.

    Now, I realise that the task of looking at the specific biometric record and then checking a clear, full-faced photograph match to within the bands of tolerance is a different prospect to a grainy, quarter face screen-grab from a CCTV camera matching against a database of 60 million individuals, but I wonder when the government will start to allow the police to access the passport records. Or do they only keep the bio-data on their systems long enough to write it to the passport and then dispose of it (manually or, you know, via some sort of built in automatic process that removes records after a certain time span where there isn't a flag actively set and audited to provide valid reason to keep it)

  14. DH987

    There is a petition on the Government website calling for increased regulation of the police use of automated facial recognition technology:

    If you are concerned by the issues raised in this article, it would make sense to sign it, to add strength to the case for increasing the regulation of the use of this technology by the police.

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