Following the report written by Professor Céline Castets-Renard on the legal framework of facial recognition used by police forces (September 2020), OBVIA is organizing an international panel bringing together European and American researchers to launch debates on the use of this technology.
Facial recognition devices are increasingly used by police forces in the public space for surveillance and public security purposes. This technology is used, for example, to detect potential criminals and terrorists among spectators at large events such as stadiums or concert halls. Other advantages are highlighted, such as saving time or simplifying the work of police forces. However, the risks of infringements on individual civil rights that may be induced by these devices are huge. The feeling of being watched can lead to a form of self-censorship on the part of citizens, particularly with regard to their participation in public life and, more broadly, the exercise of their fundamental freedoms. The use of facial recognition can interfere with freedom of movement, expression, association and assembly. The right to privacy and the protection of personal data are also threatened. Facial recognition technology can also undermine the dignity of individuals and affect the right to non-discrimination. It can affect the rights of specific groups, such as children, elderly and disabled, ethnic minorities or racialized populations. In addition, while facial recognition technology is developing, the error rate remains high, especially for certain categories of populations, such as African-Americans and indigenous people.