Maajid Nawaz's alarming monologue on the Met Police's facial recognition cameras

25 January 2020, 17:07

Maajid Nawaz described the roll out of these cameras as a "bit of a nightmare".

Maajid Nawaz warned that there "are serious civil liberty concerns around" the Met Police's decision to deploy facial recognition cameras.

He spoke about how London has more CCTV cameras per capita than any other Western country. It ranks only lower than China.

Maajid Nawaz used a case study to show how the large amount of CCTV cameras and the introduction of AI-led facial recognition technology is cause for concern.

He spoke about the now reversed decision of putting Extinction Rebellion on a counter-terror list.

Maajid Nawaz's alarming monologue on the Met Police's facial recognition cameras
Maajid Nawaz's alarming monologue on the Met Police's facial recognition cameras. Picture: PA

He continued: "Imagine this, that they weren't pulled from that list. Imagine they stayed on the Prevent list and the police roll out these facial recognition cameras and then they capture the face of everyone who attended an Extinction Rebellion sit in.

"Now, their faces go to a database. On that database, it may not have the nuance to designate them and list them as environmental protesters. Imagine the database simply categorises extremists and terrorists on the one hand, peaceful protesters on the other.

"And if they were listed on the Prevent list by certain police forces, all the faces of those in thesit in would automatically and erroneously have been put in the extremists terrorists category."

Maajid then said: "Then the police, forever, have the faces of all these protesters in the wrong list in the wrong designation. That's the danger with this kind of facial recognition recognition technology.

"The danger is that, if a simple 'error' is made in the categorisation in the first place, once the data is in, a whole bunch of other stuff, consequences, follow the fact that your face is now in the system."

He concluded: "The whole thing to me sounds like a bit of a nightmare."

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