Responding to the news that South Wales Police have restarted the use of live facial recognition technology, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their stance that the technology is an infringement on people’s privacy, especially given that legislation to govern its use is not currently sufficiently developed.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats passed a motion at their Autumn Party Conference calling on Welsh police forces to resist rolling out the technology citing concerns over human rights, ingrained bias and data protection.
The party has argued that while the technology poses a number of significant risks, its benefits are minimal with no direct link between the use of facial recognition technology and lower crime rates.
Commenting Leena Farhat, who proposed the Welsh Liberal Democrat policy at their conference stated:
“While it is welcome that South Wales Police have listened to some concerns regarding ingrained bias in this technology, its use still makes myself and many others deeply uncomfortable.
“This technology is only as reliable as the people who programme it and we know from trials in London there is a particularly high error rate for people of black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, as well as for children and women.
“There are strict rules on indiscriminately taking and cross-referencing our fingerprints and DNA but legislation has not caught up to apply to the use of live facial recognition technology.
“We all want to see crime tackled, but Wales should not become a society where innocent people feel as though their every movement is being watched by the police.”