King’s Cross in London is using facial recognition technology to surveil the tens of thousands of visitors that frequent the site each day, and Canary Wharf is “considering” following suit.
According to a spokesperson for the privately owned area around King’s Cross station, the 67-acre site in central London is using the technology “in the interest of public safety”.
Canary Wharf Group is also looking into installing the technology, in a move likely to raise questions about the surveillance of privatised public space.
“Sophisticated systems” to protect privacy
Argent, the property developer for the King’s Cross estate, claimed in a statement that this is “to ensure everyone who visits King’s Cross has the best possible experience”.
“We use cameras around the site, as do many other developments and shopping centres, as well as transport nodes, sports clubs and other areas where large numbers of people gather,” read the statement.
“These cameras use a number of detection and tracking methods, including facial recognition, but also have sophisticated systems in place to protect the privacy of the general public.”
倫敦的King’s Cross正在使用面部識別技術來監視每天經常訪問該網站的成千上萬的訪客，而Canary Wharf正在“考慮”跟進。
Argent has declined to respond to questions on the nature of these “sophisticated systems”, including how many are in place, how the data is being used, and the name of the company who supplies them.
While the large city quarter is privately owned by Argent, it is widely used by the public, accommodating a series of homes, shops, restaurants and bars, as well as Central Saint Martins, London’s renowned university of the arts.
King’s Cross is also home to the Coal Drops Yard shopping complex designed by Heatherwick Studio, which was completed in October 2018.
Cameras “considered” for Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf, a private development of high-rise buildings in east London’s former docklands, is also looking into using facial recognition cameras to monitor activity in the area.
A spokesperson from the Brunswick Group public relations firm responded on behalf of Canary Wharf Group: “I can confirm that they are considering deploying facial recognition technology (it’s not currently being used), in order to further enhance security on the estate.”
雖然大城市區是由Argent私人擁有的，但它被公眾廣泛使用，包括一系列住宅，商店，餐館和酒吧，以及倫敦著名的藝術大學Central Saint Martins。
King’s Cross酒店也是由Heatherwick Studio設計的Coal Drops Yard購物中心的所在地，該購物中心於2018年10月完工。
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has written to the owner of the King’s Cross development to share his concerns about the recent news, and to find out more about the legality of facial-recognition CCTV systems.
“London’s public spaces should be open for all Londoners to access and enjoy without fear of separation or segregation,” wrote the mayor in a post on Twitter. “I’ve written to the CEO of the King’s Cross development to raise my concerns about the use of facial recognition across the site.”
In his letter, Khan requests “more information about exactly how this technology is being used” from chief executive of the King’s Cross development, Robert Evans.
According to the Guardian, the mayor also seeks “reassurance that you have been liaising with government ministers and the Information Commissioner’s Office to ensure its use is fully compliant with the law as it stands”.
Facial recognition “should concern us all”
Facial recognition systems involve using biometrics to map facial features from a photograph or video, before running this information through a database of known faces to find a match.
As UK information commissioner Elizabeth Denham explains, this widespread processing of the biometric data of thousands of people is a threat to data protection laws, as the collection of sensitive personal data, including faces, requires consent.
“Any organisation using software that can recognise a face amongst a crowd then scan large databases of people to check for a match in a matter of seconds, is processing personal data,” writes Denham.
倫敦市長Sadiq Khan已經寫信給King’s Cross開發的所有者，以分享他對近期新聞的擔憂，並了解更多關於面部識別閉路電視系統的合法性。
“倫敦的公共空間應該對所有倫敦人開放，不必擔心分離或隔離，”市長在推特上寫道。 “我已經寫信給King’s Cross開發的首席執行官，以提出我對整個網站使用面部識別的擔憂。”
“For the past year, South Wales Police and the Met Police have been trialling live facial recognition technology that uses this software, in public spaces, to identify individuals at risk or those linked to a range of criminal activity – from violent crime to less serious offences,” the article reads.
“We understand the purpose is to catch criminals,” it continues. “But these trials also represent the widespread processing of biometric data of thousands of people as they go about their daily lives. And that is a potential threat to privacy that should concern us all.”
Ewa Nowak developed a mask-like accessory that makes the wearer’s face impossible for facial recognition algorithms to read, made from delicate brass.
“在過去的一年裡，南威爾士警察和大都會警察一直在試用現場面部識別技術，該技術在公共場所使用該軟件識別處於危險中的人或與一系列犯罪活動有關的人 – 從暴力犯罪到不太嚴重 罪行，“文章寫道。