London police to test out facial recognition technology.
Tourists and Christmas shoppers in central London could come face-to-face with facial recognition scanners as police are set to trial the controversial technology.
This will be the seventh test by London’s Metropolitan Police Service since 2016.
Police said the trials, which are taking place on December 17 and 18, are not meant to be covert and that scanners are set up with information and a “clear uniformed presence.” They added that anyone who refuses to be scanned won’t be considered suspicious.
The current trials are only being held near Soho, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Three more tests are planned but have not yet been scheduled.
Big Brother Watch has already decried the technology as “authoritarian, dangerous and lawless.”
“Monitoring innocent people in public is a breach of fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech and assembly,” the group said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the group conducted an investigation which found the tech had flagged a “staggering” number of innocent people as suspects.
In the US, various civil rights groups have been pushing for strict laws and regulations over the technology’s use, as scanners have started to pop up at airports.
China, which has more than 200 million surveillance cameras installed, is already using facial recognition to catch both criminals and jaywalkers.