Facial-recognition technology has not been used at London’s King’s Cross Central development since March 2018. The initial use of the technology was reported to “ensure public safety”.
The partnership now says only two on-site cameras used facial recognition. They were only at one location and had been used to help the police to track crime. The other two cameras were operational for a year but the data gathered was often deleted for some reason. The King’s Cross partnership also denied any data was shared commercially to private organizations for their own use.
The main aim was to detect and stop crime but they were unaware of any police involvement.
Reports suggest the authorities have no plans to reinstall the technology. But last month, a security company was advertising for a CCTV operator for the area. Even the advert was later amended to remove this detail, after BBC News raised the issue.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, also wrote to the King’s Cross Central development group asking for guarantee of legal use of facial-recognition technology.
It does not change the basics of the story in terms of the implications for people’s privacy and civil liberties, or the need for the ICO to investigate – they deployed this technology secretly for nearly two years.