Facial recognition: London rolls out controversial technology as EU considers ban

What would happen to this biometric map after it is taken, even if you’re not a match on the database?

Police in London have begun rolling out controversial facial recognition technology in a landmark move that has been criticised as a violation of privacy and rights.

The Metropolitan Police said the deployment — from Friday — would help the force tackle “serious crime” and stressed it would not replace “traditional policing”.

“Every day, our police officers are briefed about suspects they should look out for; LFR improves the effectiveness of this tactic,” a statement from the Met’s assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave said.

He added: “Similarly if it can help locate missing children or vulnerable adults swiftly, and keep them from harm and exploitation, then we have a duty to deploy the technology to do this.”

Live facial recognition technology has long been a controversial topic in the UK and in wider Europe.

Earlier this week, leaked EU documents revealed the bloc had been considering a temporary ban on the technology – a move that has been backed by Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

It came after years of hotly-contested trials in several member states, whom, like the Met, wanted to test whether such technology could help combat crime.

Read more: euronews