Over the last few years, police forces around the world, including in England and Wales, have deployed facial recognition technologies. In our new report, we assess whether these deployments used known practices for the safe and ethical use of these technologies.
How ethical and lawful is police use of facial recognition?
Many cases demonstrate the need for greater accountability and legislation for the use of such technologies.
The ethics and legality of facial recognition technology should always be at the forefront of any conversation around its use. This problem is especially acute when police and law enforcement adopt and deploy facial recognition tools.
Over the last few years, police forces around the world, including in England and Wales, have deployed facial recognition technologies. Our goal in this report was to assess whether these deployments used known practices for the safe and ethical use of these technologies.
Our report builds on the existing body of research on the use of data intensive technologies in public. We examine the complexities and challenges that exist when police forces use facial recognition technologies.
Building a unique audit system, our report examines the issues of privacy, equality, accountability, and oversight that should accompany any such deployment.
This report results from a year-long research project by our Visiting Fellow, Evani Radiya-Dixit, whose work with us was funded by a Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholarship. Thanks to Evani’s tremendous work on this report, we have a set of tools that can help advance public conversations about the values that we as a society should seek to protect.
At the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy, at the University of Cambridge, we study how digital technology is transforming society, to ensure democratic accountability over the increasing power of tech across the globe. Our research is anchored in creating ways to build capacity in how we as a society can hold tech power systems to account.
We hope that this audit tool and our report will be useful to a wide range of different stakeholders in scrutinising police use of facial recognition technology, and evaluating the use of biometric technologies globally.
- Read the report
- Coverage of the report in the Guardian
- Find out more about the Minderoo Centre for Technology and Democracy