Home Office wants to expand facial recognition use in policing and security

30/08/2023 | UK Government

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a new Market Exploration to find technological solutions for the use of facial recognition (FR) technologies within UK policing and other security stakeholders. The initiative, which is being run on behalf of the Home Office, aims to identify higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL) capabilities that could be deployed within the next 18 months. 

According to the press release, the Home Office is primarily interested in higher TRL innovative capabilities that can resolve identity using facial features and landmarks, as well as technologies that support algorithm development, integration, and analytics. The proposed solutions should be secure, accurate, explainable, and free from bias. The Home Office is specifically seeking the capabilities to support Retrospective FR (RFR), Operator-initiated FR (OIFR), and Live FR (LFR) applications or use cases, although other use cases would be considered. The Market Exploration is not seeking technologies capable of iris detection, gait analysis, and object detection.

In a statement responding to the news, Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said:  "It’s disturbing and deeply undemocratic that the Government is planning to expand facial recognition surveillance in the UK. This is an Orwellian mass surveillance tool rarely seen outside of Russia and China and has absolutely no place in Britain. The Government has no mandate at all to do this, and the fact that the rest of the democratic world is legislating to ban live facial recognition surveillance shows just how backwards the Home Office’s approach to this is."

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