Mps slam government for biometrics strategy delay h2 database console

A 2012 ruling found that it’s unlawful to hold custody images, or mugshots, of people without making a distinction between those who have been found guilty and those who are innocent. However, due to the cost of deleting innocent people’s images, the government’s current approach is that images will only be deleted when people apply to have them removed.

“The Government’s approach is unacceptable because unconvicted individuals may not know that they can apply for their images to be deleted, and because those whose image has been taken should not have less protection than those whose DNA or fingerprints have been taken,” the report said.

“There are important ethical issues involved in the collection, use and retention of facial images in particular because they can easily be taken and stored without the subject’s knowledge and because various image databases already include 90% of the adult population between them.”


There are currently around 2.5 million images on the Police National Database, which police forces can search, using facial recognition software. According to figures from the Press Association, between February and October 2017, only 67 people asked to have their images deleted.

“In the four years since the government promised to produce a biometrics strategy, the Home Office and police have developed a process for collecting, retaining, and reusing facial images that some have called unlawful,” said Lamb. Facial recognition and forensics issues

The report also highlighted concerns around the general use of facial recognition software. It said that although it can help policing, the committee is worried about its current use “including its reliability and the potential for discriminatory bias”.

The government told the committee it’s only being used for targeting those on “watch lists” rather than as an overall, blanket approach, and the committee said it should “not be generally deployed, beyond the current pilots, until the current concerns over the technology’s effectiveness and potential bias have been fully resolved”.

As well as issues around the biometrics strategy, the committee is also concerned about the sustainability of the forensics market. The government issued a forensics strategy in 2016, but the committee said it requires a refresh, especially in the light of the “collapse of private sector providers in the recent months”.

“The overarching focus in the police’s forensics procurement appears to be on low price, and problems of fragmentation of forensics testing remain,” the report said. It added as part of the strategy refresh, a review of the forensics market is needed.

“That should include planning for dealing with providers exiting the market, but also an assessment of the underlying causes of market unsustainability. It should consider afresh whether the fragmentation of forensics testing is a result of the unsustainability of the forensics market or a contributing factor to it, and whether the procurement approaches examined by our predecessor committee need to change.”

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