The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has predicted that facial recognition technology could revolutionise criminal investigations in the same way that DNA testing has done. While this prospect has been described as dystopian by human rights campaigners, Rowley maintains that facial recognition has already proven to be effective in identifying offenders from crowds of people. He suggests that retroactively using the technology to identify unknown suspects from CCTV images has immense potential and could transform investigative work in a similar way to how DNA testing did 30 years ago. The results so far have exceeded his expectations.
In a statement responding to Sir Rowley’s comments, Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Just as the emergence of DNA led to robust laws that balance and limit powers on its use in law enforcement and trials, we need a democratic, lawful approach to the role of facial biometrics in Britain, but so far there hasn’t even been a parliamentary debate on it.”
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