Tuesday 3 September 2019 2:57 pm

King’s Cross ditches facial recognition technology after watchdog savaged plans

King’s Cross has denied it will reintroduce facial recognition cameras at the site, as details emerged of its plans to use the technology to identify criminals.

In a letter sent to the Mayor of London last month, the developers behind the 67-acre site said they were rolling out an upgraded facial recognition system that would identify “flagged” individuals, such as missing persons and people who had previously committed an offence in the area.

Read more: King’s Cross facial recognition technology ‘not used since 2018’

King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) has since issued a public statement insisting it no longer plans to reintroduce the technology.


However, the letter, dated 14 August, revealed the organisation was poised to set up the controversial cameras just three weeks ago, and only scrapped its proposals after the data watchdog intervened.

Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham last month opened an inquiry into the use of facial recognition at King’s Cross, saying she was “deeply concerned” about privacy.

Sadiq Khan also wrote to the company calling for reassurances that the technology was used legally.

In his response, KCCLP boss Robert Evans said two facial recognition cameras previously operated on King’s Boulevard, but that they had not been in use since 2018.

The developers have insisted that the system was only used to help police forces in the interests of public safety, and that any footage that did not produce a match was blurred and deleted.

Read more: King’s Cross defends use of facial recognition technology

However, both the Metropolitan Police and the British Transport Police have denied knowledge of any partnership with King’s Cross.


KCCLP said it has no plans to reintroduce any form of facial recognition technology at the site.

Main image credit: Getty

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