Miranda D & Urquhart L (2022) Policing Faces - Perceptions of Facial and Emotion Recognition Technologies. AGOPOL Conference: Diffusion of Policing in the Algorithmic Society, Oslo, Norway, 18.11.2022-18.11.2022. https://www.algorithmic-governance.com/post/agopol-online-conference-diffusion-of-policing-in-the-algorithmic-society
In this qualitative study, we explore UK police force perspectives on use of automated facial recognition (AFR) technologies. We consider the narratives of front-line officers (semi-structured interviews) on how AFR would impact their professional practice. We observed scepticism and disbelief from officers around reliability, accuracy and effectiveness of AFR. Surprisingly, this often corresponds with wider critiques observed in the narratives around AFR from societal stakeholders including mass media, citizens and civil liberty groups. However, this scepticism fades as officers consider the future for AFR, where optimism and increased confidence in its use grows. We develop an empirical and legal analysis that reflects on how these future visions shape potential use of AFR in UK policing. We also consider the related technique of emotion recognition that seeks to augment AFR by reading citizens emotive states. As an emergent tool, we draw on experiences from AFR to reflect on possible futures and expectations of what we term intelligent facial surveillance (IFS). This allows us to extend our focus to AI-enabled surveillance targeting the face in policing and to consider other emerging technologies beyond AFR (e.g. emotional AI). We conclude with 10 practical lessons that aim to inform any future law enforcement use of IFS in the UK and beyond.