UK: Biometrics: MPs concerned over huge police mugshot database that still has "no real rules"

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Biometrics: MPs concerned over huge police mugshot database that still has "no real rules"
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"Ministers face a parliamentary inquiry over the storing by police of 20 million mugshots – including of many people not convicted of any crime – after a senior MP warned the practice raises “fundamental civil liberty issues”.

A Commons committee is poised to launch the probe after running out of patience with the Government, which has failed to act on the controversy almost six years after it was ruled unlawful by the High Court.

The court warned of the “risk of stigmatisation of those entitled to the presumption of innocence”, adding that it would be particularly harmful in the cases of children.


Now Norman Lamb, the chairman of the Commons science and technology committee, has told The Independent that his committee is ready to step in and investigate.

Condemning the situation as “intolerable”, Mr Lamb said: 'There are no real rules surrounding this.

'The police can store these facial images without any proper consideration of them, which raises fundamental and significant civil liberty issues about what they are retaining about us.

'It includes people who have not been charged with any crime, or people who have been exonerated.'"

See: Home Office faces inquiry over police storing 20m mugshots including images of innocent people (The Independent, link)

Letter from Norman Lamb MP to Baroness Williams, Minister for Countering Terrorism (19 December 2017, pdf):

"I appreciate the update on the Custody Image Review, but with regard to the continued non-publication of a Biometrics Strategy I remain concerned about how the Review will be implemented as well as uncertainty on the Government's position on other important areas - DNA, fingerprints and so on.


Second, while the Custody Image Review addresses issues around retention, there appear still to be uncertainties about how facial images are captued and used, in part because of the absence of the Strategy You report that their use is an 'operational matter'. I would be grateful if you could provide details of any guidance or instructions that are given to police forces on this, and what extended remit the Biometrics & Forensics Ethics Group now has in overseeing this matter. Is it not your intention for the Biometrics Strategy to address ethical issues and other important guidance relating to the proper and appropriate use of facial imaging?"

And: Home Office: Custody Image Review (February 2017, pdf)

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