Facial recognition to be used at King Charles’ coronation

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The Met police say it will not be used to pinpoint protesters or activists.

Campaigners say the use of facial recognition technology during the coronation of King Charles is “worrying.”

The Met has been accused of taking advantage of the coronation to set up the biggest live facial recognition operation in British history.

The system scans faces and matches them against a list of people police want to question for alleged crimes. It means that anyone on the list including convicted terrorists in the crowd can be identified.

The coronation is expected to attract millions of people who will be lining the streets of London to see King Charles and the rest of the royal family celebrate the crowning of Charles as King.

The police have a massive security operation in place. Just days before the event the police have also been given new powers to crack down on protests.

But campaigners have said they are worried that the scanning technology could be used against protesters which has been done before.

The Met said: “It is not used to quell lawful protest or target activists. It is not used to identify people who are linked to, or have been convicted of, being involved in protest activity.”

Previously the largest use of Facial recognition was at the Notting Hill Carnival with about 100,000 faces scanned. This time, at the coronation it would likely be the biggest live facial recognition ever conducted and maybe the largest in Europe.

The privacy group Big Brother Watch said: “Live facial recognition is an authoritarian mass surveillance tool that turns the public into walking ID cards.”

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Written by

Julia Cameron

Julia is an ex-pat writer from Brighton living in a small village close to the Andalucian town of Priego de Cordoba. When she's not working she enjoys reading, tracing her ancestry and swimming. She especially loves the summer when she can get down to the coast and chill on the beach.