Live face recognition software use is criticised

Some organisations are using live facial recognition software, to deter criminal activity, but this also raises privacy concerns.

A case in point, as reported by BBC Tech, is Sports Direct whose parent company says that using this live face-recognition (LDFR) technology has reduced crime in its shops. It also makes the point that:

  • Shoppers are told where LFR technology is in use.
  • Real people check any alerts, where a match is made against a central watch-list, with people only being added after review by a panel of former police officers, and with support from witness statements and explanations.
  • The ICO has confirmed that the scheme complies with UK GDPR regulations and follows the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.

However, 50 MP’s and Peers have written an open letter opposing the use of LFR. They suggest that LFR technology is not accurate, and is likely to misidentify people from certain ethic groups.

The ICO has previously, expressed serious concerns about LFR technology, and the previous information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham is on record saying

“We should be able to take our children to a leisure complex, visit a shopping centre or tour a city to see the sights without having our biometric data collected and analysed with every step we take”

If you are considering the use of this sort of technology, or even just CCTV for security purposes, there is plenty of guidance on the ICO website, and you can always contact us in the normal ways, use the contact form at or book a free 20-minute insight call at