On 18 June 2021, the UK Information Commissioner published a Commissioner’s Opinion (the “Opinion”) on the use of live facial recognition (“LFR”) technology in public spaces. Public spaces are defined broadly and include any non-residential space. The Opinion sets out that there is “a high bar” for businesses to meet. It is noteworthy that six organisations investigated for the use of LFR in the past by the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) have failed to fully justify its use and eventually stopped, or chose not to proceed with, the use of LFR.

The Opinion also noted that there is generally weak support from the public for the use of LFR by businesses in public spaces. In a blog post about the Opinion, the Information Commissioner said that she is “deeply concerned about the potential for live facial recognition (LFR) technology to be used inappropriately, excessively or even recklessly“.

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