A group of 50 cross-bench MPs and peers, including David Davis, John McDonnell and Tim Farron, have written an open letter to Mike Ashley, the owner of Frasers Group, which includes retail outlets Sports Direct and House of Fraser, over the groups' use of live facial recognition. The letter explains that the use of the technology "inverts the vital democratic principle of suspicion preceding surveillance and treats everyone who passes the camera like a potential criminal." Big Brother Watch, Liberty, and Privacy International also co-sign the letter. Read the Big Brother Watch press release.
Compared to Facewatch, the facial recognition system approved by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and certified by the Office of the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner (OBSCC) under the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (SCCP), Frasers Groups implementation screens all shoppers against a watchlist and alerts store staff if there is a match. The ICO confirmed in March that it is investigating whether Frasers Group's use of facial recognition is lawful.
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