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New Police Policy Could Put Innocent People on Watchlists

Isn’t it true that technological progress should be accompanied by more accountability and oversight? Unfortunately, as proven by a recent campaign in the United Kingdom (UK) to put innocent people on facial recognition watchlists, this isn’t always the case.

On Tuesday, March 22, the College of Policing (CoP) in the United Kingdom released new professional practice recommendations aimed at ensuring that law enforcement authorities in England and Wales use live face recognition software systems to detect and deter criminal conduct in a consistent manner.

The instruction, which is alarming, lays out the framework for deploying live cameras in both public and private locations to monitor people who are identified in police enforcement databases. Despite the fact that the guidance instructs law enforcement agencies to follow specific criteria before storing an individual’s image in a database, the practice has alarmed privacy advocates.

For example, Big Brother Watch’s Silkie Carlo recently told reporters that the CoP’s recommendations was an “atrocious policy” that harmed privacy and liberty. She also expressed concern that the new strategy could lead to the inclusion of innocent people on facial recognition watchlists.

Worse, this Orwellian technology may find its way to America, and in some cases, has already done so. For years, law enforcement officials in Las Vegas and other cities have deployed facial recognition technologies.

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