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U.K. Police Use of Facial Recognition Tests Public's Tolerance


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U.K. soccer fans protest the use of facial recognition technology outside the Cardiff City soccer stadium earlier this month.

U.K. police testing of facial recognition technology has provoked outrage.

Credit: David Davies/AP

The testing of facial recognition technology by police in the U.K. has provoked outrage, with rights activists and others protesting at a Wales soccer match where law enforcement used the technology to scan and detain individuals barred for past misbehavior.

The South Wales Police began trialing van-mounted face-scanning cameras in 2017; last year, a court ruled such testing is legal, but regulators and lawmakers have yet to draft regulations for the cameras' use.

The cameras scan crowds and match faces to a database of wanted or suspected criminals, and the University of Essex's Pete Fussey said the system is effective under laboratory conditions.

However, a real-world trial in London yielded only eight correct matches out of 42.

Said Fussey, "The police tended to trust the algorithm most of the time, so if they trust the computational decision-making yet that decision-making is wrong, that raises all sorts of questions."

From Associated Press
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