Facial recognition technology has been implemented on a trial basis in the UK since 2016, both in London by the Met and in South Wales by the SWP. In South Wales, the AI system is notorious for its error rate. In 2018, the SWP was found to have misidentified 2,300 people as potential criminals.
In London, an 2019 independent study found that the Met’s system had an 81 percent error rate. Although the Met’s own analysis claimed the error rate was far lower, although clearly they too were unsatisfied with the system. In 2020, it switched to Clearview AI.
Clearview AI combines surveillance footage and images pulled from the internet in an attempt to mass identify individuals in public spaces. That has provoked accusations that the technology is dystopian, not helped because Clearview scraped pictures from social media sites, including Facebook, without permission.