With news of China Police using facial recognition technology in sunglasses to help catch criminals, it seems that the UK Police are following suit. Police in the UK have begun trialling the use of mobile fingerprint scanners to check a person’s identity in less than a minute.
The fingerprint scanners will run a check against two databases: the ‘Immigration and Asylum Biometric System’ (shortened to IABS) and the IDENT1. The IABS records the data of non-UK citizens, both entering and exiting the country, whereas the IDENT1 database records the data of any person taken into police custody in the UK. By using the fingerprint scanners, police on the ground can quickly ascertain if the suspected person is on either database – readily able to access data on previous convictions, false identities and relationships to other criminals. The results are provided in less than a minute, making for a more streamlined process at the first stages of questioning a suspect.
Privacy advocacy groups in the UK are weary of the move, worried that police will abuse the technology; encouraging prejudice against minority groups who are already targeted unfairly by police amidst already rising tensions in local communities. However, a police spokesperson has assured that the fingerprint scanners will only be used if a suspect cannot be easily identified or if they are suspected of providing a false identity. The fingerprint is immediately deleted after the feedback is provided from the databases and isn’t stored on the database or device at the initial scan. The scan is then re-run if the suspect is taken into custody and interviewed in the police station, where the scanning can be monitored by other members of staff.
Technology is making work a little easier for enforcement officers on the ground, but do you feel comfortable providing your biometric data when asked? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: The Verge