CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HOME AFFAIRS – AUTOMATED FACIAL RECOGNITION – 27 January 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: In the age of smartphones, automated number recognition and especially CCTV, is it not already virtually impossible to preserve one’s privacy when one is out in public? As it is only a matter of time before CCTV becomes pin-sharp, is it not inevitable that this technology cannot be stopped, because we are already going to be recorded on systems that will provide exactly the same technique for identifying people for whom the authorities are rightly searching?

[The Minister for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service (Kit Malthouse): It is definitely the case that in a world where identification technology of all types is accelerating, one of the challenges we face is the preservation of our privacy, and there have been many debates in this House and in the public realm about how we do that. We believe that we have a good, strong and transparent framework in which data can be gathered legally but then kept private, and through which individuals can seek their own privacy by way of the deletion or amendment of data. As I said earlier, we are the guardians of the system. This House is the crucible in which the decisions are made, so we must look sharp about it and not assume that these technological developments are outwith our control.]