Home GDPR #Privacy: Police to deploy facial recognition at upcoming football match
GDPR - January 10, 2020

#Privacy: Police to deploy facial recognition at upcoming football match

South Wales Police has announced that it will use facial recognition technology at this Sunday’s Cardiff City v Swansea City football match. 

In a statement, South Wales Police stated that it would be deploying facial recognition technology to identify those who have been issued with banning orders and may attempt to attend the game. 

“Only those who have previously been convicted of offences at football matches are on the watch list and all have valid banning orders in place. Our watch list, as always, is event-specific and is only being used to reduce the threat of or likelihood of disorder,” said South Wales Police. 

South Wales Police have maintained that the technology does not retain biometric data or images of people whose faces may have been scammed, and that the data is immediately and automatically deleted. 

In October, police used the same technology when the two teams played each other, to which the High Court found to be legally justified, despite privacy concerns. 

North Wales police and crime commissioner, Arfon James said that the use of surveillance was a “step too far” and reduces the confidence the public have in policing.

“I’m sure there are people from North Wales who will be going down to the game and risk having pictures taken of them without their consent. I have a responsibility to represent them and to oppose fishing expeditions that invade their privacy,” James said.

Jones added there was also serious concern about its accuracy. Facial recognition technology was utilised in the Champions League final at the Millennium Stadium, to which there were thousands of false positives.

In addition, there is a risk that the technology could be biased and discriminatory to members of the BAME community.  

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael expressed his disappointment with Jones’ criticism of the South Wales Police adding that: “South Wales Police have been at the forefront of making football grounds safe places for the public, and Banning Orders were introduced to enable genuine fans to enjoy watching football in safety and confidence. They are only fully effective when they are enforced.”

Many have argued that the use of facial recognition technology treats fans like criminals, with the Football Supporters’ Association urging spectators to wear Halloween masks in protest. 

Campaign group Big Brother commented that the technology should be banned as: “dangerous mass surveillance treats all fans as suspects, erodes public freedoms and wastes public money.”

The post #Privacy: Police to deploy facial recognition at upcoming football match appeared first on PrivSec Report.


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