London police deploy face scan tech


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February 11, 2020

London police deploy face scan tech, stirring privacy fears

London police started using facial recognition cameras on Tuesday to automatically scan for wanted people, as authorities adopt the technology that has raised concerns about increased surveillance and erosion of privacy.

Surveillance cameras mounted on a blue police van monitored people coming out of a shopping center in Stratford, in east London. Signs warned that police were using the technology to find people "wanted for serious crimes." Officers stood nearby, explaining to passers-by how the system works.

It's the first time London's Metropolitan Police Service has used live facial recognition cameras in an operational deployment since carrying out a series of trials that ended last year.

London police are using the technology despite warnings from rights groups, lawmakers and independent experts about a lack of accuracy and bias in the system and the erosion of privacy. Activists fear it's just the start of expanded surveillance.

"We don't accept this. This isn't what you do in a democracy. You don't scan people's faces with cameras. This is something you do in China, not in the U.K.," said Silkie Carlo, director of privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch.

Britain has a strong tradition of upholding civil liberties and of not allowing police to arbitrarily stop and identify people, she said. "This technology just sweeps all of that away."

Police Commander Mark McEwan downplayed concerns about the machines being unaccountable. Even if the computer picks someone out of a crowd, the final decision on whether to investigate further is made by an officer on the ground, he said.

"This is a prompt to them that that's somebody we may want to engage with and identify," he said.

London's system uses technology from Japan's NEC to scan faces in the crowds to see if they matched any on a "watchlist" of 5,000 faces created specifically for Tuesday's operation.

The watchlist images are mainly of people wanted by the police or courts for serious crimes like attempted murder, McEwan said.

London police say that in trials, the technology correctly identified 7 in 10 wanted people who walked by the camera while the error rate was 1 in 1,000 people. But an independent review found only eight of 42 matches were verified as correct.

Police are "using the latest most up-to-date algorithm we can get," McEwan said. "We're content that it has been independently tested around bias and for accuracy. It's the most accurate technology available to us."

"I'm not really concerned because I didn't commit any crime or I'm not someone that is being wanted, I'm fine. Safety comes first," said Charles Enyorsi, who works at a property management company.

But Silvan Bennett-Schaar, a law student from Germany, said he was opposed, partly because of his country's experience with communist-era mass surveillance. He also thought police efforts to be transparent about the technology's deployment were counterproductive.

"No criminal would walk through here if it says this," he said, referring to the prominent warning signs placed around the van. "And then it's just a completely ineffective measure and a completely ineffective measure can never justify any interference with anybody's right to privacy."


Loved and changed by Jesus.
When we came back from France (2017) Canada forced us to do a face and hand (or was it finger?) scan just to reboard our flight back to Denver. I never felt more angry or violated in my life. We had no choice!!! The technology is here and we are all in their Information bank. Did I mention I can’t wait to go home?


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"I'm not really concerned because I didn't commit any crime or I'm not someone that is being wanted, I'm fine. Safety comes first," said Charles Enyorsi, who works at a property management company.

“Hey Charles, let me tell you a story....”
-Donald J. Trump


Purry, roary, one.
Scary stuff. And also, yeah totally ineffectual if they're actually telling people what's going on with signs. Lol.

So, question is what were they really up to? Building a database perhaps?


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Bear with my little story ....... My wife and I were going to have a much wanted get away for a couple of days in a "B&B" bed and breakfast so I did the online search and found a nice little place a couple of hours away, it was through AirBnB, to book teh weekend they asked I open an account which was just the usual things like name and email address, set a password ..... once I had done this and got that set up, a new box comes up saying please scan your licence or passport and upload it to our server ......... nope not going to happen, no one is getting my ID over the internet and especially some invisible corporation, so I could not book our get away..... send airbnb a request to delete the account and info I had supplied to which they said I needed ID to prove who I was, I reiterated that I was not uploading my ID to their servers no way! .... saga is continuing LOL!