Police Facial Recognition Tech is Branding Citizens as Criminals 96 Per Cent of the Time

By Shabana Arif on at

The controversy over the use of facial recognition technology – particularly by the police force – has been bolstered by the recent discovery that it has a rather pathetic four per cent success rate.

The Independent reports that the eight trials carried out in London over the course of 2016 to 2018, that have cost over £222,000, have had a 96 per cent "false positives" rate, which means that it's telling the fuzz that citizens are criminals when it's comparing their faces to the photos in its database. Glad to see our tax money being frittered away like it's a bag of chocolate coins.

During one of these trials, a man was fined £90 for obscuring his face from the cameras and telling police to "piss off" when he was pulled aside for doing so, and asked for his ID.

Worryingly, instances of police stopping individuals for having their faces covered have been reported more than than once.

"This is a turning point for civil liberties in the UK. If police push ahead with facial recognition surveillance, members of the public could be tracked across Britain’s colossal CCTV networks," said Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch.

"For a nation that opposed ID cards and rejected the national DNA database, the notion of live facial recognition turning citizens into walking ID cards is chilling."

Last year, during a trial in Stratford that had a zero per cent success rate, a 14-year-old boy was misidentified and fingerprinted. This particular instance may or may not be related to the trouble that the technology has in correctly identifying people with darker skin that has civil rights advocates even more concerned about integrating it into society at large.