First challenge to police use of automated facial recognition


The High Court, sitting in Cardiff, has began hearing the first challenge to the use of Automated Facial Recognition by UK police. Deployed in public places with large crowds, this technology extracts unique facial biometric data from live footage of individuals passing CCTV cameras and compares this to a “watch list” of images.

The claimant, Ed Bridges, argues that the use of the technology by South Wales Police breaches his privacy and data protection rights because it lacks a proper legal basis, there are insufficient safeguards and its use is disproportionate. The claim also raises issues as to whether police discharged its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 to interrogate potential racial and gender biases in the application of the technology.

Dan Squires QC and Aidan Wills appear on behalf of the claimant, instructed by Liberty.