An independent review has provided Police with detailed advice on the opportunities and risks associated with the use of Facial Recognition Technology (FRT).
In responding to the review Police has decided it will not use live Facial Recognition technology without further detailed analysis, taking account of legal, privacy and human rights concerns – with a particular focus on the New Zealand context.
The independent expert review was conducted by Drs Nessa Lynch and Andrew Chen.
Police is now embarking on a Response Plan based on the 10 recommendations of the review, to ensure the safety and security of police staff and communities is at the forefront of our thinking.
“FRT is a subject that draws strong interest, and sometimes distrust and controversy along with it. However, with this technology’s fast paced development, there are also opportunities for more effective policing. Getting this balance right is imperative, and the review has given us clear guidance on the legal and ethical use of this technology,” says Deputy Chief Executive Mark Evans.
FRT is anything that uses an image of a person’s face, to support identification of that person. The scope of this technology is growing, and ranges from one on one comparison (ie, SmartGate system at the border), to Live Automated FRT – sophisticated camera software which can identify multiple people in large crowds.
As confirmed by the review Police does not currently use live Facial Recognition Technology.
“Police will not use live automated FRT until the impact from a security, privacy, legal, and ethical perspective is fully understood.
“Our Response Plan also ensures that Police use of FRT for identification purposes is clear and provides a best practice analysis of those we will use and why,” Mr Evans says.
Police’s Response Plan will adopt all 10 recommendations from the review, some of which are already in train.
“It is critical that we continue to use technology safely and responsibly, as accuracy and bias are key concerns for FRT. We are committing today to engaging with communities before we make any decisions on the use of Live FRT.
“This puts us in the best position to prepare for any considered future adoption of the technology,” says Mr Evans.