Monday 12 August 2019 5:50 pm

King’s Cross defends use of facial recognition technology

The developer behind King’s Cross has defended its use of facial recognition technology, despite concerns about privacy and data use.

Property development firm Argent, which is overseeing a regeneration project on the 67-acre site, said its use of the cameras was “in the interest of public safety”.

Read more: Passengers told to avoid King’s Cross on bank holiday weekend

“These cameras use a number of detection and tracking methods, including facial recognition, but also have sophisticated systems in place to protect the privacy of the general public,” a spokesperson said.

It is unclear how many facial recognition cameras have been installed at the site, or how long they have been in use.

It is understood Canary Wharf Group is also looking to introduce facial recognition technology on its property as an additional security measure.

The deployment of the technology, first reported by the Financial Times, has sparked fears over the use of personal data.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it has concerns about the potential for inappropriate use of facial recognition in a way that could undermine privacy.

An ICO spokesperson said: “The ICO is currently looking at the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement in public spaces and by private sector organisations, including where they are partnering with police forces. 

“We’ll consider taking action where we find non-compliance with the law.”

Read more: San Francisco becomes first US city to ban facial recognition software

Under data protection laws introduced last year, individuals must give consent for the use of personal data, which includes face images.

In addition to the National Rail and Tube stations, the King’s Cross development includes retail spaces such as Coal Drops Yard and offices let to firms including Google and Facebook.

Main image credit: Getty