Claudia Glover writes in The Tech Monitor that the UK’s policing minister has rejected the suggestion that police forces might need ethical guidance in relation to emerging technologies.
This, despite alarm from campaigners over live facial recognition and ‘predictive policing’.
UK police forces are pursuing many of these technologies. Last year, the Mayor of London’s Office approved a new £3m “Retrospective Facial Recognition” system that will allow police to compare faces identified in CCTV footage against archival footage.
“We have to be slightly careful not to stifle innovation,” UK policing minister Kit Malthouse Malthouse said, and that formal procurement frameworks “tend to be generally for more mature technology”.
He said that while there could be room for regional bodies advising police forces on technology ethics, he would be “concerned about setting up a parallel ethics group” on a national level, as Parliament already serves that purpose. “In the end, aren’t we the national ethics committee?”
But Rick Muir, director of UK policing think tank the Police Foundation, believes many police forces would welcome a national procurement framework for emerging technologies. At the moment, he says, “the police are having to create their own framework on the hoof.”