the government plans to adopt facial recognition technology for its national police

According to “The Irish Times”, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee announced in late May that her department was drafting legislation allowing the Garda Siochena, the country’s national police force, to use facial recognition technology to analyze images of CCTV of serious crime suspects or missing persons. she saying it would save her thousands of hours of work.

If there is one AI technology that is causing debate and concern, it is facial recognition. While China uses it for the repression of journalists, foreign students, the Ouigour community, “persons of interest”, Europe is trying to regulate its use in public spaces through the GDPR. Globally, most police departments use it and more and more cities are installing smart cameras. However, it does pose problems: those of data usage and algorithmic biases.

The adoption of facial recognition technology by the Garda Siochena

The EU AI law, once finalized, is expected to ban the use of real-time facial recognition in public places, except in limited circumstances. Following protests the announcement sparked, including the legislation being rushed through, Ms McEntee said safeguards will be put in place on the use of the technology and it will be subject to data protection rules.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said consultations with interested parties were under way and that Ms. McEntee would finalize the proposals along with the attorney general. and would present them to the government before the committee stage of the bill, which is expected to take place in the fall.”.

She said:

“Facial recognition will not be used for indiscriminate surveillance; it will be used in very clearly defined circumstances to help Gardaí find CCTV footage and video. »

According to ‘The Irish Times’ sources, live use of the technology would only occur in specific circumstances, with the main aim of the legislation being to help national police deal with the masses of information they collect such as CCTV evidence and digital recordings. Additionally, law enforcement will be able to use body cameras and access third-party CCTV sources, such as automatic license plate recognition (RPM).

A moratorium demanded by opponents of the Irish bill

While GRA (Garda Representing Association) representatives believe such technology would offer a very positive advantage in the fight against serious crime, James Lawless MP, who is also chairman of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, the legislature Irish, warned of facial recognition problems, citing a 2019 report from the London Met that found the wrong person was identified in up to 80% of cases.

In addition, 52 experts, including academics and NGOs, wrote an open letter expressing their concerns and calling on Justice Minister Helen McEntee to impose a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology by the police.

They say there:

“Public safety and national security can sometimes take precedence over the right to privacy, TRF’s policing intrusions are wholly unnecessary and disproportionate. The use of TRF is likely to have significant deterrent effects, changing the way people use online and public spaces. »

They warn about the danger of this technology and add:

“Scientists agree that the technology is simply not advanced enough and does not live up to the claims of its developers. However, even if accuracy were to improve, as the technology can be deployed indiscriminately, it risks exacerbating the problem of over-surveillance in areas where marginalized groups live, resulting in disproportionate criminalizations, racial profiling, and minorities. ethnic groups, and ruins people’s lives. »