Fedster + 1,307 Posted September 9, 2018 Share Posted September 9, 2018 Facial recognition technology could 'damage the very fabric of a free society'. Date - 9th September 2018 By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle Campaigners are calling for a public inquiry into police blacklisting of protesters and whistleblowers in an official review into state sanctioned monitoring of the public. Big Brother Watch's State of Surveillance report, published on Friday, was highly critical of police surveillance, use of technology and monitoring of political activists. UK police treat legitimate campaigners in a “similar way to their response to organised criminal network”, the document argued- labelling demonstrators as “domestic extremists”, filming protests and routinely monitoring social media. “Campaigners have also said they believe surveillance is intentionally divisive, calling attention to those who are allegedly ‘aggressive’ or whom the police want to isolate or alienate from other protesters,” the report adds. “This fear that police surveillance is concerned less with actual criminal behaviour and more with disruption based on subjective political judgements is fuelled by the way the police have claimed a broad and diverse range of campaigners are 'domestic extremists'. “This label has no basis in law and its definition has changed often since it appeared in 2004.” Big Brother Watch (BBW) wants a public inquiry to “tease apart the links between the various people involved in blacklisting” and called the judge-led Undercover Policing inquiry, which is not expected to report until 2023, a “disaster”. Major concerns were also raised about police use of surveillance technology such as facial recognition cameras. BBW is worried it is being used to compile data on protest groups and allows police to photograph activists without a suspicion of involvement in crime. “The rapid emergence of new surveillance technologies is being matched by their fast and often lawless adoption by private companies and the state. “Police forces can watch and track citizens without suspicion, increasingly using algorithms fed with personal information and data scraped from the internet to construct 'suspicion', assert 'risk', or even predict crime. “Facial recognition cameras have crept onto our streets, making border style security and frequent identity checks a norm.” The focus on public monitoring is having a “chilling effect” on the freedom to protest and has shifted policing priorities from negotiation to intelligence gathering, BBW said. “Much debate on privacy and the gathering and retention of data remains overwhelmingly focused on individual rights. “This overlooks the additional negative impact of surveillance when applied to an entire group, and an entire democratic mechanism. “The excessive surveillance of activists inhibits collective discussion, decision-making and organisation, which are fundamental to the ability of campaigners to exercise their rights to protest effectively,” the report says. Two separate legal challenges (against South Wales Police and the Metropolitan Police Service) were launched this summer claiming facial recognition cameras breach the human rights of everyone within range and data protection laws. But weeks later MPS Commissioner Cressida Dick told the London Assembly Police and Crime Panel she is “very comfortable” with the technology and trusts her officers’ judgement. Figures revealed in response to Freedom of Information requests by Big Brother Watch have shown that, for the Metropolitan Police, 98 per cent of "matches" found by the technology were wrong, and for South Wales Police the figure was 91 per cent. Police Oracle has contacted the National Police Chiefs’ Council for comment. View On Police Oracle Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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