Jun 18, 2018

Facial recognition in the U.K. faces legal challenge

Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A British privacy watchdog is preparing to mount a legal challenge to the use of AI-based facial recognition technology in the U.K.

Why it matters: Law enforcement around the world is increasingly using real-time facial recognition. The technology is already widespread in China and is used by some police departments in the U.S.

The details: The UK has an extensive video-surveillance system. Several police departments — including London's — have experimented with using surveillance cameras for real-time facial recognition, which uses AI to scan the faces of passersby in a live video feed and try to match them to photo databases.

Accuracy issues: Proponents say the systems help police fight crime — the South Wales Police said in May that theirs had led to more than 450 arrests — but their accuracy varies. Big Brother Watch, the group preparing to sue in the U.K., found that 102 out of 104 people were incorrectly identified during a recent facial-recognition trial in London.

Across the Atlantic: A group of researchers at the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology estimated in 2016 that half of Americans appear in at least one police facial-recognition database. Obviously, most of those people are not suspected of committing crimes — in fact, the Georgetown report found that only 8 percent of the photos in the FBI's databases show known criminals.

Face recognition surveillance — identifying people in real-time from live video feeds — risks being an imminent reality for many Americans.
— Clare Garvie, associate at the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology, in a Big Brother Watch report

What's next: Big Brother Watch has criticized what it calls the "lawless growth of Orwellian surveillance" in the U.K. and is gearing up to bring a lawsuit against the police, arguing that automated facial recognition violates the European Convention of Human Rights.

Go deeper: The Georgetown report on police face recognition, "The Perpetual Line-up," is an eye-opening survey of how the technology is used in the U.S.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 5,626,047 — Total deaths: 351,815 — Total recoveries — 2,314,233Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,684,173 — Total deaths: 99,123 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Tech: Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next
  5. Business: Boeing to lay off 6,770 more U.S. employees.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Live updates: SpaceX to launch historic crewed mission for NASA

The Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon atop. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX will attempt to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station today.

Why it matters: If all goes well, this launch — expected to happen at 4:33 p.m. ET — will mark the first time a private company has successfully launched people to orbit and the first crewed, orbital rocket launch from the U.S. in 9 years.

Follow along below for live coverage...

Pompeo tells Congress Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that he has certified to Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China and does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law.

Why it matters: Revoking Hong Kong's special status would hasten its economic and financial decline, already set in motion by China's growing political grip on the city. The preferential status that the U.S. has long granted Hong Kong has made the city a top U.S. trading partner.

Go deeper (1 min. read)ArrowUpdated 46 mins ago - World