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The Met’s Use of Facial Recognition Technology (3)

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 12th March 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Pidgeon Caroline Pidgeon Liberal Democrat

The only independent report conducted into the Met’s 2019 trial of live facial recognition technology (LFR), by Professor Peter Fussey and Dr Daragh Murray of the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre, concluded that the technology was only accurate on 19% of occasions and had severe operational shortcomings that would be unlikely to hold up in court. Considering that the Met is now rolling this out as an operational tool, not as a trial, are you confident that all the operational failings and concerns outlined in the report referenced above have been resolved and mitigated?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

The Metropolitan Police Service have published their legal mandate ( which they believe supports the operational use of Live Facial Recognition, including drawing on the Bridges vs South Wales Police Judgement which found in favour of use of LFR by the police. Other elements of the Essex Report focused on Data Protection Impact Assessments and the Equality Impact Assessment. These have been substantially rewritten by the MPS and published online.

The MPS disagree with many of the findings in the report, including Professor Fussey’s interpretation of the accuracy figures. The Met has published its own review of the trials in consultation with the National Physical Laboratory. This is available online.