The Met Police’s facial recognition trial

The Met Police’s sinister facial recognition trial should worry us all

We are extremely good at accusing others of doing the very thing we excel at. A case in point: we rightly criticise the Chinese government with its dystopian surveillance and social score systems, when we are considering building something similar.

In a recent episode of BBC Click, journalist Geoff White followed the police’s pilot of live facial recognition technology. (The Metropolitan Police are running a number of pilots). In one chilling moment, a man walked past the facial recognition cameras and covered his face. The police stopped him, forced him to uncover and then took a photograph of him anyway. ‘This gives us grounds to stop and verify him,’ one officer said. The man got angry – understandably, I’d have done the same – which landed him a £90 fine for disorderly behaviour.