EU Fundamental Rights Agency paper: Facial recognition technology – fundamental rights considerations

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) have released a paper, published November 2019 (pdf), on the fundamental rights considerations of facial recognition technology in a law enforcement context. The paper considers the implication of ‘live FRT’ – the practice of comparing footage obtained from CCTV with images in databases – in the context of law enforcement and border management.

The paper notes that facial images are classed as ‘sensitive data’, despite being easy to capture in public places. Although accuracy is improving, there is a real risk of matching errors – particularly for BAME people.

The lack of transparency in this practice is another challenge for our rights. Those having their images captured may well not be aware that it’s happening, leaving them unable to challenge any misuse. The paper looks at these and further fundamental rights challenges, and suggests ways to avoid rights violations.

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