A few days ago, The Guardian reported that the British government might soon start using smartwatches to monitor migrants convicted of crimes. They should perform facial recognition up to five times a day. What’s more interesting, the measures could take effect as early as this fall.
Migrants convicted of crimes ought to take pictures of themselves throughout the day and track their location 24/7. They have to send photos to the UK Home Office. Then, the system will compare those photos with the ones on the files. If the image verification fails, the employees should do it manually. The photos and other data will remain in the database for up to six years.
The data will be shared with the Home Office, MoJ, and the police, with Home Office officials adding: “The sharing of this data [to] police colleagues is not new.”
Reports say the rule only applies to only migrants convicted of crimes. In May, the UK government signed a £6m contract with a company called Buddi Limited. According to the deal, they would acquire “non-fitted devices” that would work with the Home Office’s satellite tracking service.
Does This Violate the Human Rights of Migrants Convicted of Crimes?
We understand that for many this could be a violation of human rights. Moreover, such measures could have a serious impact on migrants’ health and wellbeing.
In this regard, Lucie Audibert, a lawyer, and legal officer for Privacy International, said: “Facial recognition is known to be an imperfect and dangerous technology that tends to discriminate against people of color and marginalized communities.” She thinks such an approach to policing and surveillance is profitable for private companies.
Through their opaque technologies and algorithms, they facilitate government discrimination and human rights abuses without any accountability. No other country in Europe has deployed this dehumanizing and invasive technology against migrants.”