CIPR welcomes ICO investigation into use of facial recognition technology

The CIPR’s #AIinPR Panel has welcomed the ICO’s announcement that it plans to investigate the use of live facial recognition technology in King’s Cross, London. The statement comes a day after the CIPR’s Artificial Intelligence Panel called on businesses to be transparent about the use of emerging technology.

The ICO is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

The ICO’s move to investigate this application of facial recognition in a public space is welcomed. Facial recognition remains an unproven technology. Its use should be proportionate to any risk to the public, properly disclosed to the public and implemented securely.
Stephen Waddington Chart.PR, Hon FCIPR, Managing Director, Metia, Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, CIPR Artificial Intelligence Panel Chair

On Tuesday the CIPR #AIinPR Panel issued a warning on the adoption of facial recognition technology with Deputy Chair, Kerry Sheehan saying “[t]he only way to address the growing public concerns on facial recognition is through ethical, up front communication. Public safety benefits derived from facial recognition technologies will not be gained if issues around public trust are not addressed.”

In their statement, Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner at the ICO, stated that “any organisations wanting to use facial recognition technology must comply with the law – and they must do so in a fair, transparent and accountable way. They must have documented how and why they believe their use of the technology is legal, proportionate and justified.”

The CIPR’s #AIinPR Panel have considered ethical implications of AI adoption as part of their AI in PR Primer series including concerns surrounding facial recognition technology in their AI in Data Ethics guide (member only). Both documents have been written by Ben Verinder Found. Chart. PR, FCIPR, Dip CIPR.

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