5th September 2019 – (United Kingdom) On Wednesday, a U.K. court dismissed a case brought against the South Wales Police over its use of live facial recognition technology, which allows police to scan the faces of thousands of individuals in real time and match their likenesses against a database of suspects.

South Wales Police has implemented automated facial recognition (AFR) technology since April 2017. Other forces around the country are also testing similar systems including London’s Metropolitan Police.

A man from Cardiff sued the police for breaching his human rights when they used facial recognition technology but the court ruled that the police’s actions were lawful. His pictures were taken live CCTV feeds and processed in real time to extract biometric information.

If a face matched a database of people on a police watchlist, they would be flagged. Otherwise, the data was deleted immediately. The force used this technology around 50 times at public events between May 2017 and April 2019, including at football matches and concerts. An estimated 500,000 faces were scanned.

At the hearing, it was proven that the police could not now check whether images of Bridges had been taken. If they had been, his pictures would have been deleted.

The court found that AFR Locate’s collection and processing of data met the conditions set out in the Human Rights Act and in UK data protection legislation.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, protesters toppled several multifunctional lampposts in Kwun Tong on 24th August. They have repetitively accused the government of installing these street lamps to conduct surveillance on civilians. 

Since protesters in Hong Kong have accused the government of infringing privacy by installing these smart lampposts, perhaps they should also stop waving British flags and stop appealing to the U.K. government to interfere with Hong Kong affairs as it seems like their government does not respect human rights too.

Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong and Hong Kong HIIAD have called upon United Kingdom to declare a Chinese breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a binding international treaty; and
2) The US Congress and the UK Parliament to legislate Magnitsky-style sanctions upon the persons responsible for / complicit in the suppression of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

Protester removed a smart street lamppost in Kwun Tong on 24th August.
Protesters in Hong Kong waving British flags a Legislative Council Chamber in July. Picture credit : Taiwan News.