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Police defend facial scanning at Download

By | Published on Tuesday 16 June 2015


Police have defended the use of facial recognition technology at last weekend’s Download festival to check the 90,000 attendees against lists of known offenders.

The scanning caused quite a bit of chatter online over the weekend, but it’s just a new fangled way of doing something police would always have done at a large scale event of this kind. Or at least that’s what the police are claiming.

Chief Superintendent Chris Haward told the BBC: “The software provided an efficient and effective way of picking known offenders out of a crowd – something that officers would previously have been done using paper briefings”.

Thought to be the first time the technology has been used at a major UK event, police said that all the information gathered by the facial scanning has now been destroyed. Nevertheless, civil liberties campaigners have expressed concern at the technology’s use.