Facial-recognition cameras in London

This item appears on page 4 of the March 2020 issue.

The London Metropolitan Police announced on Jan. 24 that parts of the city would be outfitted with facial-recognition cameras, with rollout expected to be completed by the end of February.

According to the police, signs will be posted at all cameras indicating that they are facial-recognition cameras, and they will be operated five to six hours at a time. The software used compares the faces on camera only with faces of wanted criminals; it does not identify all individuals scanned.

An official report on trial runs suggested that the system accurately identified 70% of designated suspects. However, an independent review found that only 19% of the facial matches were verifiably correct. Additionally, facial-recognition software has been found to be less accurate when identifying people with darker skin, due to software algorithms having been built using predominantly people with white faces.