Stop the Met Police using authoritarian facial recognition cameras

by Big Brother Watch

Stop the Met Police using authoritarian facial recognition cameras

by Big Brother Watch
Big Brother Watch
Case Owner
Big Brother Watch is a cross-party non-profit campaign organisation leading the protection of privacy and civil liberties at a time of enormous technological change in the UK.
Funded
on 08th July 2018
£8,500
pledged of £8,500 stretch target from 283 pledges
Big Brother Watch
Case Owner
Big Brother Watch is a cross-party non-profit campaign organisation leading the protection of privacy and civil liberties at a time of enormous technological change in the UK.

Latest: Sept. 6, 2019

We're ready and waiting...

Thanks to you, we're ready and waiting to take the Metropolitan Police and the Home Secretary to court over their lawless use of live facial recognition surveillance.

Since we initiated the lega...

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Big Brother Watch is calling on the Government and the Metropolitan Police to immediately end the police's lawless use of dangerously authoritarian facial recognition cameras. 

The Met has targeted Notting Hill Carnival twice as well as Remembrance Sunday with the China-style surveillance cameras - even though police don't have a lawful basis for using them. It must stop.

These real-time facial recognition cameras are biometric checkpoints, identifying members of the public without their knowledge. Police have begun feeding secret watchlists to the cameras, containing not only criminals but suspects, protesters, football fans and innocent people with mental health problems. 

Big Brother Watch has joined with Baroness Jenny Jones to demand an end to the police's use of real-time facial recognition cameras. Baroness Jones, a member of the House of Lords, fears that she could end up on a facial recognition watchlist when conducting her parliamentary and political duties. A photo of her was held on the Met's "domestic extremism" database and her political activities were monitored while she sat on an official committee scrutinising the Met and stood to be London's mayor.

However, facial recognition cameras mean that even if you're not on a police database now, you could be soon. Thousands of biometric photos of innocent members of the public who aren't even on these secret watchlists are being taken and stored too following incorrect matching. 

Big Brother Watch conducted a Freedom of Information campaign and discovered the Met's facial recognition is disastrously inaccurate, wrongly matching innocent people 98% of the time. In a step change for policing in the UK, those photos of innocent people wrongly matched are being stored for 1 to 12 months on police databases.

Facial recognition is the latest Orwellian mass surveillance tool to be lawlessly rolled out by the state. 

Public outcry, shocking inaccuracy statistics, and the absence of appropriate legal power have not deterred the Met from forcing this authoritarian surveillance tool on an unsuspecting public. The Met plans to dramatically increase its use of facial recognition with 7 more deployments planned for the next five months. 

Meanwhile, the Home Office has spent £2.6m encouraging police to use automated facial recognition - despite lacking any legal basis to use the surveillance tech.

This sets a dangerous precedent.

PLEDGE NOW

Big Brother Watch and Baroness Jones have written to the Metropolitan Police and Home Secretary demanding that they end their lawless use of dangerously authoritarian facial recognition cameras. It is a clear breach of privacy rights and freedom of expression in the UK. 

We have instructed Rosa Curling of Leigh Day solicitorsStephen Cragg QC and Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers. Liberty has sent a pre-action letter to South Wales Police calling on that force to end its use of automated facial recognition.

If they do not, we intend to take them to court - but we can only do this with your help.

Pledge now to protect civil liberties, uphold the rule of law, and roll back the surveillance state. 




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Update 6

Big Brother Watch

Sept. 6, 2019

We're ready and waiting...

Thanks to you, we're ready and waiting to take the Metropolitan Police and the Home Secretary to court over their lawless use of live facial recognition surveillance.

Since we initiated the legal challenge, the Met has paused its use of live facial recognition - but is refusing to disclose its future plans.

The Met's facial recognition pause means our legal challenge has had to be paused too.

Together, we've made the Met halt their use of live facial recognition - but we've got to make them drop it for good.

If the Met uses live facial recognition surveillance again, we'll proceed and take them to court.

Meanwhile, you may have seen we've been investigating and exposing the secret epidemic of live facial recognition across our country - from malls to museums, conference centres, landmarks and the Kings Cross area in London. 

Some of our investigations have uncovered murky police deals with private companies, where police have either given companies biometric photos to use with facial recognition, or allegedly 'advised' companies to use live facial recognition. 

We will keep digging and, with your support, we will win this battle to protect privacy. So please help keep us going.

Thank you for fighting this with us!

Update 5

Big Brother Watch

May 1, 2019

We did it!!! 🎉

THANK YOU to everyone who is supporting, sharing and talking about our campaign - especially the 283 backers who are enabling us to bring this landmark legal challenge. 

Thanks to you, we've successfully raised £10,000 to stop police rolling out authoritarian facial recognition surveillance!

Here's what happens next...

The Met is expected to make a decision on its future use of live facial recognition within weeks. If they continue to use it, we will seek to proceed with our legal challenge. 

We will keep you posted on all the developments in our fight against this major threat to civil liberties in the UK. 

Thank you!

Update 4

Big Brother Watch

March 19, 2019

Don't miss your chance to tell the police to STOP spying with facial recognition

NEWS: The Met has now paused its use of facial recognition and is deciding whether to continue.

This is a vital and unique time to make your voice heard and send this template email to the police

Your email opposing this authoritarian surveillance today may help protect us from facial recognition in the future.

TAKE ACTION

  • EMAIL THE POLICE: click the blue button on this page to generate a template email - we've provided a few starting points. Please add your name and edit to include any additional, personal concerns!

And remember - thanks to your support on CrowdJustice - if the Met does push ahead with face scanning in public, we will take them to court

Please share this action far and wide!

Thank you.

Update 3

Big Brother Watch

Dec. 20, 2018

ALMOST THERE!

Thanks to all your support, we've almost reached our crowdfunding target. 

Over 200 of you have supported this legal challenge so far!

And we recently received an incredible direct donation of £1,500 towards the legal challenge, so we have reduced our £10,000 target here to £8,500. 

We're almost there!

With police scanning Christmas shoppers with live facial recognition cameras this month - resulting in misidentifications and wrongful stops - we need all the help you can give to end this.

Please keep sharing this campaign. Your shares raise vital awareness about this important issue and will help us to raise the £10,000 we need.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support and donations.

Update 2

Big Brother Watch

July 24, 2018

BREAKING: Our landmark legal challenge to facial recognition begins!

We've just filed our claim against the police's lawless use of facial recognition in the High Court. We could only do this thanks to your amazing support. Thank you.

We now need to wait for the Court to give us permission to proceed with the case - but we need your help.

We need your help to reach our £10,000 goal to proceed the case.

Please pledge now to help us progress this vital challenge.

Keep sharing this campaign. Your shares raise vital awareness about this important issue and can help us to raise the £10,000 we need.

Thank you!

Update 1

Big Brother Watch

July 9, 2018

We did it!!! Here's the plan...

We did it!!! Thanks to your fantastic support, we've hit our first goal of £5,000.

Thank you so much!

We've written to the Met Police and Home Secretary, explaining that facial recognition cameras breach citizens' rights, and our intention to bring a legal challenge unless they stop using them.

Now, we're planning next steps. Please keep sharing this campaign: we need to keep raising awareness & vital funds to win this fight. 

Thank you!

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