Metropolitan Police officers accessed PimEyes over 2000 times in 3 months

15/05/2024 | i

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has banned the use of the facial recognition search engine PimEyes after Freedom of Information requests revealed that the site was accessed 2,337 times from MPS computers in a three-month period. 

MPS points out that accessing the site does not necessarily involve facial recognition searches, but after further scrutiny, it strengthened safeguards and blocked all access to the site from its devices. The extent of usage by other UK forces remains unclear after none of the 45 territorial police forces and the British Transport Police responded to an FOI request to disclose data relating specifically to facial recognition searches.

In a statement, Jake Hurfurt, head of research and investigations at Big Brother Watch, said, "It is entirely inappropriate for police officers to use PimEyes… Facial recognition tech is dangerously unregulated in Britain & the information commissioner should step in to to safeguard the British public from these Orwellian facial recognition tools."

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