LONDON (AP) – When British police used facial cameras to monitor the crowds who were coming for a soccer game in Wales, some fans sent protest against their faces. As a sign of the technology dispute, even a neighboring police force said it was against him.
The Welsh police used the vans that were equipped with technology outside of Cardiff stadium this week as part of a prolonged trial where officers scanned people in real time and kept anyone on a black list from attending previous misconduct. The match between Cardiff City and Swansea City, wearing masks, balaclavas or scarves around their faces, was challenged by rights activists and team supporters.
“It is disproportionate to the risk,” said Vince Alm, chairman of the Association of Football Musicians in Wales, who helped organize the protest. “Football fans say they are being picked” and used as guinea pigs to test new technology, he said.
The real-time surveillance that is being tested in Britain is among the more prosaic uses of face recognition in Western democracies and raises questions about how technology will go into people's daily lives. Authorities and companies are keen to use it, but activists warn that it puts human rights at risk.
The British have long used video surveillance, with one of the world's highest CCTV camera densities. Cameras in public spaces were used by decades of security forces fighting with threats from the Irish Republican Army and, later, domestic eaves attacks after September 11, 2001.
Recent progress in surveillance technology means a new wave of face recognition systems that will increase public acceptance of the test.
Police in Wales are in charge of Britain. In 2017, they began rolling out and testing scanning cameras face to face with a government funding grant. While a court last year ruled that the trial of the force is lawful, regulators and lawmakers do not have statutory rules on its use.
The cameras place van-mounted, using technology at Japanese NEC, to scan people in crowds and match a “watch list” with a database of most people who need or suspect a crime. . If the system is upgraded, officers of that person stop to carry out further investigations, according to the force's website.
Right groups say that this type of monitoring raises privacy concerns, consent, algorithmic accuracy, and questions about how faces are added to watch lists.
It is a frightening example of overcrowding, ”said Silkie Carlo, director of the Big Brother Watch privacy campaign group. “We are very concerned about the non-democratic nature of it. This is a very controversial technology with no obvious legal basis. ”
His group scrutinized other British police trials, including one at the City of London force last year, when officers withdrew a man who tried to hide his face. They managed to fine him for a public order offense, the group said.
North Wales Police Commissioner Arfon Jones said the facial recognition was a “fishing trip” to take pictures of soccer fans.
British police and crime commissioners are civilians elected to supervise and examine the country's many forces. They were introduced in 2012 to improve accountability.
“I am uncomfortable with this complex interference with our privacy,” said Jones, a former police officer, in an interview. He said that police would have more justification to use it if they had information about a particular threat such as a future terrorist attack.
Jones approached his Welsh counterpart, Alun Michael, having raised similar concerns at the deployment of a game day in October.
Michael Michael Jones' criticism was based on a misunderstanding of extensive technology and scrutiny carried out by the police.
“It is not understandable that Arfon Jones should not support measures that keep fans of football safe,” said Michael.
Face recognition was used for fans who banned attendance on Sunday's game based on previous misconduct and erased anyone's biometric data automatically, he said.
“There was no one wrong arrest as a result of recognition by the South Wales Police,” said Michael. The force is using technology twice a month at major events including rugby games, royal visits and yacht races. It has scanned almost 19,000 faces at the Spice Girls concert in May and recognized 15 people. watch list, including nine incorrectly.
“In laboratory conditions it is very effective,” but not as accurate on the streets, said Pete Fussey, professor at the University of Essex who monitored police trials in London. Last year he was the author of a report saying that only eight out of 42 matches were correct.
“The police tended to have confidence in the algorithm most of the time, so if they have confidence in computer decision-making that the decision-making is wrong, it raises all sorts of questions” about the responsibility of the machine, he said .
The United States is also facing the debate, where real time surveillance of crowds is still rare and technology is used more often to identify suspects by running their images through a series. of police mistake or driver license photographs.
Critics in the US, including politicians, are trying to ban facial recognition for fear of racial discrimination. Some focus on large Chinese street camera networks for ethnic minority monitoring.
Britain is the fourth largest camera, with one security camera per 6.5 people, according to IHS Markit.
London is the fifth most watched city in the world, and one of two non-Asia cities in the top 10, according to a report by Comparitech. There are almost 628,000 surveillance cameras in the British capital.
It is so widespread that a surveillance camera commissioner, Tony Porter, is in Britain even.
He and the privacy commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, urged police forces not to take control of the British High Court which received a legal trial of Wales as a green light for the generic deployment of facial automated identification.
Denham is investigating her use by police and private companies. Store owners and landlords are among those who want to use technology to see shoppers and abusive customers.
British Start Facewatch sells retailers a security system such as the Budgens convenience store chain which “matches faces against identified offenders within seconds of entering the premises” and installs alerts.
The developer of the King's King's Estate in London last year said that he had used two identity cameras from May 2016 to March 2018 to prevent and detect crime in the vicinity, preventing the system from being used without information or consent. public.
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