London Streets' Facial Recognition Cams

Very Controversial Street Surveillance System

Stock Image:  Surveillance Camera

Purpose to Stop Violent Crime
London is becoming one of the largest city in the Western world to utilize advanced and highly controversial facial recognition cameras on its streets.  China is the biggest user of the technology.  Critics are calling London "Beijing Lite".  Critics argue facial recognition technology violates individual's privacy and has an extremely high false positive rate of 81%, according to independent research.

European Union, Google and Microsoft Snooping Wars
Major players are weighing in on this emerging, disruptive technology.  The European Union has proposed a 5 year temporary ban on use of facial recognition technology until the kinks are ironed out and abuses can be thwarted.  At Davos this week, Alphabet/Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed that he supports a temporary ban.  On the other hand, Microsoft CEO Brad Smith does not support any delays.

London Metropolitan Police Deployment
London police are now in the process of deploying the advanced facial recognition camera system.  They are placing very visible cameras with NEC facial recognition technology in neighborhoods with high crime rates, where they are most likely to find serious offenders. The technology is designed to identify people on a watch list and provide police with their real-time location.  London police say it will be "intelligence led". The Financial Times has editorialized against the system, calling it "highly invasive and often inaccurate biometric monitoring."

Big Ben is Looking at You
London's advanced camera system will be fully operation within the month. Interestingly, the UK has more traditional surveillance cameras per person than any other country, other than China.  The new London facial recognition system has been ruled legal by a Judge but that decision is being appealed.  Here in the US, the cities of San Francisco and Cambridge, MA have banned the use of such technology.  For a look at journalist Edward Kane's book "How to Use AI and AR", go to


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