ECHR facial recognition ruling implications for the UK

07/07/2023 | Cloisters

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a ruling about the use of facial recognition technology against protesters in Russia. The case (Glukhin v Russia) involved the arrest of a protester who was travelling on the Moscow underground. The ECHR ruled that using facial recognition to locate and arrest the protester was a violation of his right to privacy and freedom of expression. The decision sets an important precedent for the use of facial recognition technology in future protests and demonstrations. Law firm Cloisters has provided a legal analysis of the case and outlined the implications for the UK. 

In a statement welcoming the ECHR's decision. Barbora Bukovská, Senior Director for Law and Policy at international human rights organisation Article 19, said: "The use of facial recognition and other biometric technologies represents one of the greatest threats to fundamental rights in the digital age. These technologies constitute a threat to the right to privacy and anonymity and have a strong “chilling effect” on the rights to freedom of expression. If governments can use biometric technologies to quash any form of dissent and if people know they are being watched, they are less likely to express themselves freely in public spaces and might not choose to exercise their rights."

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