Sajid Javid backs police trials of facial recognition cameras

Home secretary Sajid Javid has backed police trials of facial recognition cameras in the face of legal action that claims they threaten people's privacy.

The surveillance software, which is designed to help spot suspects in public spaces, has been trialled by police forces including Scotland Yard and South Wales where the legal action is being mounted.

The action by Ed Bridges, which is backed by the civil rights group Liberty, claims his image may have been captured unlawfully on facial recognition cameras from a police van while he was out Christmas shopping in Cardiff city centre.

They claim it violated his privacy and data protection rights by processing an image taken of him in public, action which he says caused him 'distress'.

Today, however, Mr Javid said it was important that police made use of the latest tools to help them solve crimes.

Speaking at the launch of new computer technology aimed at helping police fight against online child abuse, he said it was right for forces to 'be on top of the latest technology'.

Author's comment: There has to be a balance struck between law enforcement and civil liberties. Facial recognition technology is used extensively in other parts of the world - China, for example - and the potential for abuse by a totalitarian government can be shown by the following video:

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