London’s Metropolitan police are stopping citizens who attempt to hide their faces from facial recognition technology at Stratford Station. Police, under siege from advocacy group backlash, put out a statement saying “anyone who declines to be scanned will not necessarily be viewed as suspicious.” But even this statement may not be true.
Campaign group Big Brother Watch says that a man who viewed facial recognition warning signs near the station used a ski mask to hide his face. Police used facial technology cameras while inside a parked police van.
“He simply pulled up the top of his jumper over the bottom of his face, put his head down and walked past,” said director Silkie Carlo.
“There was nothing suspicious about him at all … you have the right to avoid [the cameras], you have the right to cover your face. I think he was exercising his rights.”
Carlo, speaking to the Independent, said that she witnessed plainclothes police follow the man and eventually confront him. According to Carlo, the police demanded the man show his identification. The man turned over his id, but Carlo says the police remained in an “accusatory and aggressive” mode.
“The guy told them to p*** off and then they gave him the £90 public order fine for swearing,” Ms. Carlo added. “He was really angry.”
London Police Claim Facial Recognition Technology Stops Are Judgment Calls
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan police says that officers are told to “use their judgment” when citizens hide their face from recognition cameras.
“Officers stopped a man who was seen acting suspiciously in Romford town centre during the deployment of the live facial recognition technology,” a statement said.
“After being stopped the man became aggressive and made threats towards officers. He was issued with a penalty notice for disorder as a result.”
In other words, the man on trial for using the “F word.” The police arrested eight people on the same day by way of this technology. The crimes the people were wanted for varied.
Witnesses claim that people are commonly being pulled over for pulling up hoodies or shirts to cover their faces.
Liberty human rights group say that one man was stopped for “looking like someone” on a government watchlist. The person was misidentified.
London officials will continue to tout their successes, which are those facial recognition efforts that result in the arrest of violent criminals. Unfortunately, the exchange of privacy for more safety and security hardly results in more safety and security. Consequently, citizens will end up under a nanny state that monitors and tracks. That’s already the case in the UK and a result many in the United States hope for.
In the United States, the CIA potentially used home routers as spying devices. Walmart openly discussed spying on customers. The times, they are a changing, in case you haven’t noticed.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.