'Legal action has been launched against the Metropolitan Police over its use of facial recognition on the eve of a new trial.
Baroness Jones and the campaign group Big Brother Watch have issued proceedings in the High Court after claiming that the technology breaches human rights and signals a “slippery slope towards an Orwellian society”.
They are seeking permission for a judicial review of Scotland Yard’s use of automatic facial recognition software, which was found to be returning “false positives” in 98 per cent of alerts earlier this year.
Britain’s largest force said images that do not generate a potential match with police databases are deleted immediately and confirmed that anyone refusing to be scanned “will not be viewed as suspicious” ahead of a fresh trial in Stratford on Thursday.
The legal challenge, officially lodged against the home secretary, Sajid Javid, and the Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick, aims to stop police using the software.
It argues that the use of automatic facial recognition violates articles eight, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights – guaranteeing the rights to private life, freedom of expression, assembly and association – and is neither proportionate nor necessary.
Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, said it was subjecting “thousands of people in the area to highly sensitive identity checks without consent”.
“Facial recognition cameras are not only authoritarian, they’re dangerously inaccurate,” she added. “The use of this technology by the police risks taking us down a slippery slope towards an Orwellian society.”'
Read more: Facial recognition technology hit by legal challenge on eve of new London trial
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