The ICO has launched a report into the use of facial recognition in an area of King’s Cross which includes newly built residential properties and the UK headquarters of Google.

After the owners of the Granary Square site confirmed that they had been using facial recognition software.

“Scanning people’s faces as they lawfully go about their daily lives, in order to identify them, is a potential threat to privacy that should concern us all,” said Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

“That is especially the case if it is done without people’s knowledge or understanding.

“I remain deeply concerned about the growing use of facial recognition technology in public spaces, not only by law enforcement agencies but also increasingly by the private sector.”

The team discuss the issue on the latest episode of Demystifying Tech:

Denham said her office and the judiciary are both independently considering the legal issues and whether the current framework has kept pace with both emerging technologies and people’s expectations.

The investigation will require information about how the technology is used, and will involve the system and its collected data are in line with data protection law.

“Put simply, any organisations wanting to use facial recognition technology must comply with the law - and they must do so in a fair, transparent and accountable way.

“They must have documented how and why they believe their use of the technology is legal, proportionate and justified.

“We support keeping people safe but new technologies and new uses of sensitive personal data must always be balanced against people’s legal rights.”