London’s Metropolitan Police Service will be
testing facial recognition technology in a handful of locations across the central core of the British capital on both Monday and Tuesday for eight hours each day.
This trial marks the seventh such trial in London since 2016. In addition to the December 17-18 tests, authorities have said there will be three more tests that have yet to be scheduled.
According to the police, these trials, which “will be used overtly with a clear uniformed presence and information leaflets will be disseminated to the public,” are set to take place specifically in the vicinity of Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square.
The Met noted in a statement that anyone who declines to be scanned “will not be viewed as suspicious by police officers.”
Law enforcement in South Wales has also previously tested this technology, among other locales around the United Kingdom. Numerous tests in the United States have shown that this technology can be flawed, particularly when in use against non-white suspects.
The test has been decried by London-based pro-privacy group Big Brother Watch:
Tomorrow, police will use live facial recognition in London, scanning everyone in view.
We’re fighting this for all the people who don’t want to be walking ID cards in a surveilled nation.
Join the 199 people who are helping us bring a legal challenge: https://t.co/0DurhCWNTJ
— Big Brother Watch (@bbw1984) December 16, 2018