“As a modern police force, I believe that we have a duty to use new technologies to keep people safe in London,” assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave said in a statement. “We are using a tried-and-tested technology. Similar technology is already widely used across the UK, in the private sector,” he added.
“Moving too quickly to deploy technologies that can be overly invasive in people’s lawful daily lives risks damaging trust not only in the technology, but in the fundamental model of policing by consent,” Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner, said at the time.
Denham’s office on Friday called on the UK government to urgently introduce laws to govern live facial recognition. “We have received assurances from the [Metropolitan Police] that it is considering the impact of this technology and is taking steps to reduce intrusion and comply with the requirements of data protection legislation,” the commissioner’s office said in a statement.
Advocacy groups warned democratic freedoms would be undermined.
“This decision represents an enormous expansion of the surveillance state and a serious threat to civil liberties in the UK,” Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo said in a statement Friday.
“Facial recognition technology gives the State unprecedented power to track and monitor any one of us, destroying our privacy and our free expression,” Liberty’s advocacy director, Clare Collier, said in a statement.
The Met said it will engage with local communities before deploying the technology.