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Facial Recognition Smartwatches To Be Used To Monitor Foreign Offenders In UK

Saturday August 6, 2022. 03:25 AM , from Slashdot
Facial Recognition Smartwatches To Be Used To Monitor Foreign Offenders In UK
Migrants who have been convicted of a criminal offense will be required to scan their faces up to five times a day using smartwatches installed with facial recognition technology under plans from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. The Guardian reports: In May, the government awarded a contract to the British technology company Buddi Limited to deliver 'non-fitted devices' to monitor 'specific cohorts' as part of the Home Office Satellite Tracking Service. The scheme is due to be introduced from the autumn across the UK, at an initial cost of 6 million pounds. A Home Office data protection impact assessment (DPIA) from August 2021, obtained by the charity Privacy International through a freedom of information request, assessed the impact of the smartwatch technology before contracting a supplier. In the documents, seen by the Guardian, the Home Office says the scheme will involve 'daily monitoring of individuals subject to immigration control,' with the requirement to wear either a fitted ankle tag or a smartwatch, carried with them at all times.

A Home Office data protection impact assessment (DPIA) from August 2021, obtained by the charity Privacy International through a freedom of information request, assessed the impact of the smartwatch technology before contracting a supplier. In the documents, seen by the Guardian, the Home Office says the scheme will involve 'daily monitoring of individuals subject to immigration control,' with the requirement to wear either a fitted ankle tag or a smartwatch, carried with them at all times. Photographs taken using the smartwatches will be cross-checked against biometric facial images on Home Office systems and if the image verification fails, a check must be performed manually. The data will be shared with the Home Office, MoJ and the police, with Home Office officials adding: 'The sharing of this data [to] police colleagues is not new.'

The number of devices to be produced and the cost of each smartwatch was redacted in the contract and there is no mention of risk assessments to determine whether it is appropriate to monitor vulnerable or at-risk asylum seekers. The Home Office says the smartwatch scheme will be for foreign-national offenders who have been convicted of a criminal offense, rather than other groups, such as asylum seekers. However, it is expected that those obliged to wear the smartwatches will be subject to similar conditions to those fitted with GPS ankle tags, with references in the DPIA to curfews and inclusion and exclusion zones. Those who oppose the 24-hour surveillance of migrants say it breaches human rights and may have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing. Lucie Audibert, a lawyer and legal officer for Privacy International, said: 'Facial recognition is known to be an imperfect and dangerous technology that tends to discriminate against people of color and marginalized communities. These 'innovations' in policing and surveillance are often driven by private companies, who profit from governments' race towards total surveillance and control of populations.

'Through their opaque technologies and algorithms, they facilitate government discrimination and human rights abuses without any accountability. No other country in Europe has deployed this dehumanizing and invasive technology against migrants.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
https://yro.slashdot.org/story/22/08/05/2136213/facial-recognition-smartwatches-to-be-used-to-monito...

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