Legal framework needed to regulate police facial recognition


Police Scotland have issued a call for a legal framework to govern how to manage images held by the force – a problem that has been repeatedly highlighted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

In the Scottish Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Justice, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Duncan Sloan said that the current rules around what the police can do with images of the public are “not as clear” as the rules around fingerprints and DNA, and that new governance arrangements would be “absolutely valued and very much welcomed”.

Responding to the comments, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP commented:

“Scottish Liberal Democrats sought this regulation five years ago, and put forward amendments accordingly. At that point, the Scottish Government failed to recognise the potential danger for our civil liberties.

“Since then, facial recognition trials south of the border have exposed serious weaknesses in the reliability of the technology.

“Without robust legislation, the police are left in a vulnerable position. Technology doesn’t stand still, and we must ensure we have a legal framework capable of coping with such change. There is an opportunity with the Biometrics Bill going through parliament at present to take steps in that direction. Scottish Liberal Democrats will look to ensure that opportunity is seized”


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