Comment on the UK Information Commissioner’s Opinion on Facial Recognition

Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner ( Information Commissioner’s Office ) published a great blog on the use of facial recognition in public:

It is important that we arrive at a societal consensus through informed public debate, and this blog strives to do just that.

In her blog, Elizabeth states : “In the US, people did not trust the technology.”

Unfortunately and und ultimately, it’s not the technology people mistrust, but the authorities using it.
(Our views on this here.)

There are a myriad of uses of this powerful tech. Some abhorrent, some of great value. It’s no different from any technology. It can be applied for good and for bad.

We should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. It is not sufficient to ask “should the technology be used in place xyz?”, but also:

1. By whom?
2. For what?
3. Under what control and governance?

However, page 65 of the referenced report specifies that Precision (defined as “… the percentage of positively-identified cases that are in fact positive.”) should be an important metric. Here, I somewhat disagree. If nobody in the watchlist walks past a camera, does that mean the precision of the system is 0?
(our views on this here.)

It is commonly misrepresented that if facial recognition has been deployed in a location, everybody in that location is being “tracked”. Not so. The people in the watchlist are being tracked. So, who’s in the watchlist? and Why?
(our views on this here.)

#privacy #trust #facialrecognition #cctv #ethics #gdpr #ICO

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