Investigation can now get started with facial recognition (UPDATE)

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From now on, the police can use facial recognition technology in criminal investigations. There are now legal rules for this that, according to the police, also meet the wishes for privacy and ethics. At the end of 2019, the Minister of Justice and Security had promised that further regulations on facial recognition would be worked on. The use of the technology must first be approved by a police review committee.

Public places

In practice, this means that the police can quickly compare recorded images of faces based on biometric characteristics with, for example, an image of a suspect.

In 2019, the operational application of this tool was restricted pending clarification of the rules, which now exist in the form of a legal framework.

CATCH is already being used. This is a system with a database of facial images of suspects and convicts. It is now also possible to work with cameras set up in public areas for the purpose of investigation, assistance or maintaining public order.

Responsible commitment?

‘On the basis of the facial recognition deployment framework you can – prior to operational deployment – ​​see whether that deployment is responsible,’ says Katinka Knops, ethics advisor at the police. The police look at the duration of the deployment, the seriousness of the (possible) facts and whether there are alternative methods of investigation.

Whether a deployment is legally, ethically and technically permissible depends on ‘a total consideration’, according to the police.

Review committee

Any use of facial recognition must first pass a review committee. It assesses an application for a deployment and then submits it to a broader group of employees who are involved in facial recognition. This results in a judgment that is submitted to the chief of police, who can ratify it.

After that, the public prosecutor or mayor concerned may decide not to deploy it after all.

Over the next three years, it will be tested whether the test works and whether the use of this technology is effective.

See more about facial recognition technology:

Detecting criminals with artificial intelligence

Millions of photos of innocent migrants in police face database

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