Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Let's Face It, This Spying Is Wrong'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Let's Face It, This Spying Is Wrong'

Article excerpt

FOR the last six months, Greater Manchester Police have piggybacked onto the CCTV system of a private security company to secretly roll out live facial recognition technology.

An estimated 15 million people visiting the Trafford Centre have had their faces scanned. This means millions of people have been subject to a secretive police line up, with photos being taken, analysed and potentially stored - and may not even know about it.

If you've visited the Trafford Centre, you could be one of them.

This shock spying in Manchester is the latest in a series of worrying revelations about high-tech police surveillance. Police in Cardiff and London have also used live facial recognition at shopping centres, turning shoppers into walking ID cards and normalising the use of border style security in everyday life.

Live Facial Recognition is a relatively new technology, in which facial recognition-linked cameras scan crowds in public spaces to identify people in realtime, matching faces against a database.

The face of each and every person passing by a live facial recognition camera will be scanned and analysed - just like having your fingerprint checked - subjecting everyone within view to a biometric identity check.

It is thought that police handed camera operators at the Trafford Centre a sensitive list of approximately 30 people, who are either missing or otherwise known or wanted by police, to be added onto the company's own watchlist. There has been a lack of transparency around this chilling spying operation, largely due to the public-private partnership behind it.

At Big Brother Watch, we're submitting Freedom of Information requests in an attempt to find out more about what's going on.

Live facial recognition cameras can act like identity checkpoints. They rapidly create detailed maps of our faces - 'faceprints' - that uniquely identify us just like fingerprints. …

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