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Facial recognition in King’s Cross prompts call for new laws

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There is growing pressure for more details about the use of facial recognition in London’s King’s Cross to be disclosed after a watchdog described the deployment as “alarming”.

Developer Argent has confirmed it uses the technology to “ensure public safety” but did not reveal any details.

It raises the issue of how private land used by the public is monitored.

The UK’s biometrics commissioner said the government needed to update the laws surrounding the technology.

Argent is responsible for a 67-acre site close to King’s Cross station.

While the land is privately owned, it is widely used by the public and is home to a number of shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as considerable office space with tenants including Google and Central Saint Martins College.

There had been nothing to suggest that facial recognition was in use until the fact was revealed by the Financial Times.

UK biometrics commissioner Prof Paul Wiles has called for the government to take action over the use of facial recognition technology by the private sector as well as by law enforcement.

Facial recognition does not fall under his remit because current legislation only recognises DNA and fingerprints as biometrics.

While Argent has defended its use of the technology, it has repeatedly declined to explain what the system is, how it is used or how long it has been in operation.

SourceBBC NEWS

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