‘Don’t roll out Facial Recognition by the backdoor’ warns CIPR #AIinPR Panel

The CIPR’s Artificial Intelligence Panel (#AIinPR) has warned businesses to be transparent about the application of emerging technology, after it was revealed that facial recognition technology has been used at London’s Kings Cross without public knowledge.

The developer responsible for implementing the technology said the tool was used to “ensure public safety”, but the organisation has faced criticism for failing to communicate the use of facial recognition technology to the public.

#AIinPR Vice-Chair Kerry Sheehan Chart.PR, FCIPR urged businesses to be transparent about the use of emerging technology, arguing that mistrust will fill the void when the public do not understand how or why new technology is applied.

The 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.

Concerns around facial recognition already include bias, the lack of oversight and regulatory architecture and the lack of operational transparency. There is currently no law governing the use of facial recognition in the UK. Therefore, it is critical that security services and business communicate openly about these technologies to ensure the public understand how and why they are being used. Facial recognition should never be rolled out ‘by the back door’.

Facial recognition technology has and will deliver significant improvements to society and the economy – but the benefits will only be realised if the public concerns are addressed, and that process starts with open communication. 
Kerry Sheehan Chart.PR, FCIPR, Global Director of Communications, ABRSM (consulting), CIPR Artificial Intelligence Deputy Chair

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