'The public expect the police to be using live facial recognition technology after seeing it in spy thrillers, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said.
Cressida Dick backed the technology, calling it “very useful”. But, Britain’s most senior police officer added, we are “miles from” being able to deploy it - despite it being depicted in films such as the James Bond franchise.
“If a terrorist was walking down the street, most of the public in London would've thought that probably we were already using the technology that ought to be able to get that person stopped - and if that included live facial recognition they probably think for the most serious crimes it ought to be being used,” she said. “We're miles from that, but unfortunately when you're watching the Bourne Supremacy or Bond or any of those things, it's full of it.”
In an interview with The Telegraph last November, Ms Dick criticised the Home Office for “stepping back” and said the failure to introduce laws which allow officers to use facial recognition technology to catch “bad guys” had left her officers “hamstrung”.
She reiterated her concerns at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit in London today, saying that “we can’t just put our heads in the sand.”
“The bad guys are adopting the newest technologies very fast, hostile states are adopting new technologies very fast… but [in this country] there isn’t enough of is public discourse about what it acceptable and what isn’t, and people would want,” she said.
Ms Dick conceded that the technology needs to be “acceptable to the public”, saying: “I think it’s important that always have, at the back of our minds, a proper fear of what might be described as a police state. Nobody in this city wants to live or work or visit a place in which data is used to control citizens.'
Read more: Public expect police to be using facial recognition technology after seeing it in spy thrillers like James Bond, says Cressida Dick
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3 January 2019
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