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An independent report urges the UK to stop utilizing live facial recognition (LFR) in open spaces until legislation for biometric technology is in place.

The Ada Lovelace Institute, an independent research institute, ordered the report to be conducted by Matthey Ryder, London’s former deputy mayor. After a thorough review of the UK’s laws, the report determined that there should be a suspension on live facial recognition (LFR) in private and public areas.

The review shows up as courts, rights groups, regulators, and politicians worldwide have expressed serious concerns over the usage of biometric techs. They believe these technologies are often inaccurate and invasive. In the UK, police forces, retailers and schools have started utilizing LFR frequently.

“The current use of live facial recognition is not lawful, and until the legal framework is updated, it will not be. There is an overriding public imperative to make changes,” said Ada Lovelace Institute’s director Carly Kind.

Biometrics and facial recogition

Biometric data’s related to someone’s behaviour or body, ranging from facial features, DNA, and fingerprints to gait patterns, iris scans, and voice prints. Biometric tech utilizes this information to identify individuals. It’s also employed to categorize the behaviour of people.  

“Facial recognition is just one example, but by no means the entirety of the issue”, Kind added. “We are concerned about the extent to which [companies and governments] are using biometric data, to make judgments about public safety and public health.”

Top companies like Amazon and Microsoft have already limited usage of LFR. Moreover, San Francisco temporarily banned its usage in 2019. Upcoming European laws recently pressed Microsoft to pull the plug on some of its AI services.