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Met Police use of facial recognition comes under scrutiny



Panel to investigate ethics of the technology following criticism of its use at last year’s Notting Hill Carnival

A new London Policing Ethics Panel is to look at how the Metropolitan Police uses facial recognition technology.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that the panel, led by ethical policy expert Dr Suzanne Shale, is to investigate the issue as part of a wider look at digital policing in the capital.

It is aiming to produce a set of recommendations for the mayor on how digital tech can be used in public safety while also respecting citizens’ rights.

The announcement pointed to the previous use of facial recognition at the Notting Hill Carnival in September of last year, which prompted criticisms of misuse. It was reported at the time that the trial produced about 35 incorrect matches and led to one incorrect arrest, and civil liberties group Liberty questioned whether the algorithm had been tested for accuracy bias.

The panel will also look at how the Met sets its priorities, and the details of the Mayor’s Policing and Crime Plan.

Shale said: “Policing by consent in a diverse global city raises many ethical challenges, and there are often quite different views about what to do for the best. The panel’s job is to help find the right course for London, one that helps us be the society we want to be.”

Image by EFF Photos, CC 2.0 through flickr

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