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Scotland plans to introduce facial recognition technology to citizens on the street

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Police Scotland has hinted that it may trial live facial recognition (LFR) technology, reports the Scottish Daily Press.

Cameras equipped with LFR technology scan people's faces as they go about their business in public. The scanned images are then converted into 'facial fingerprints' or 'biometric patterns'.

The technology was recently deployed at Oxford Circus in London by the Metropolitan Police (The Met). About 36.000 people were scanned and compared to a suspect watch list of 6.747 people.

Speaking to the Scottish Daily Mail, Bex Smith, Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland, said: "Police Scotland does not currently use, trial or test live facial recognition technology".

"But we are conducting a review of testing the technology elsewhere."

"As technology advances, we see the need to consider embracing new ways of working and leveraging technology."

"We are committed to our duty to protect people, and that may require us to keep up with the times and look for technology that will help us do that in the future."

"We recognize legitimate concerns about the use of new technology and are developing a governance framework to balance data protection and privacy regulatory requirements."

For good reasons, LFR technology raises privacy and civil liberties concerns.

"Many people will understandably be concerned that the introduction of this new technology could potentially infringe on their civil liberties," Tory justice spokesman Jamie Green said.

"Robust engagement and due diligence must be a top priority before these cameras are potentially deployed."

Human rights group Big Brother Watch warned: "This intrusive surveillance poses a serious threat to our civil liberties, violates our right to privacy and routinely leads to mistaken identities and legal problems."

But according to The Met, technology is helping to keep people "safe".

"This technology helps keep Londoners safe and will be used to find people wanted for violent and serious crimes and those for whom arrest warrants have been issued by the court," said a spokesman for The Met.

"Independent experts will also conduct a test of the LFR system to determine its accuracy."

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