Gerry Facenna QC and Eric Metcalfe acting for the Information Commissioner in facial recognition case

24 May 2019

Gerry Facenna QC and Eric Metcalfe are acting for the Information Commissioner in the claim brought by Ed Bridges, supported by the campaign group Liberty, challenging the use of automated facial recognition technology by South Wales police, which is the lead UK police force trialling the technology. Three UK forces have used facial recognition in public spaces since June 2015: the Metropolitan, Leicestershire and South Wales police.

On behalf of the Commissioner, Gerry Facenna submitted to the Divisional Court that the use of facial recognition technology by police forces currently lacks a sufficient legal framework and adequate safeguards, in particular there is an absence of clear rules on which of the 12.5 million images on the police national database – including those not found guilty of a crime – may be included on a watch list when the police use the technology in a public space.

The hearing has now concluded: Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Mr Justice Swift are considering what the Court described as an important case raising “novel and potentially far-ranging issues”.

Media coverage of the case includes the BBC, The Guardian and The Times.