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No use of facial recognition except for police to “fight crime”: Italy’s Data Protection Agency

Italy has allowed FRT to be used only by police whereas a UK court had ruled its use by cops as “unlawful” after a petition

What’s new: Use of facial recognition (FRT) was prohibited on November 14, 2022 for all purposes except “to fight crime” in Italy by its Data Protection Authority, reported Reuters. Interestingly, the decision contrasts a UK court’s order in 2020 that ruled police’s use of FRT as “unlawful.” While both countries come under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law, Italy’s Data Protection Agency (DPA) rebuked two municipalities experimenting with FRT and 'smart glasses.' It said that FRT using biometric data will not be allowed until a specific law is adopted or at least until the end of next year. However, it exempted the use of such technologies in case of “judicial investigations” or “fight crime.” Meanwhile in the UK, a Court of Appeal ruled two years ago that South Wales police’s use of FRT “breached privacy rights, data protection laws and equality laws.” The contrasting stands by two European Union (EU) countries highlight how FRT in law enforcement is still a fresh concept and requires much scrutiny. Why it matters: Indian law enforcement agencies are taking a keen interest in FRT and similar surveillance technology under the guise of ‘law and order.’ Though Indians still do not have a privacy and data protection law in place to safeguard their rights, officials claim they will take all necessary measures when employing such tech. Here, we see that even European Union countries embracing GDPR differ on the use of such systems to deal with law and order issues [Note that the UK…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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