Smart watches

Smartwatch stories at Techdirt.

from prepare for failure department

To keep tabs on what the UK government considers dangerous migrants, it turns to dubious technology provided by a company that has long been concerned with tracking people for more altruistic reasons.

Migrants who have been convicted of a criminal offense will be required to scan their faces up to five times a day using smartwatches fitted with facial recognition technology under Home Office plans and the Department of Justice.

In May, the government awarded a contract to UK technology firm Buddi Limited to supply ‘unequipped devices’ to monitor ‘specific cohorts’ as part of the Home Office’s satellite tracking service. The scheme is due to be introduced from the autumn across the UK, at an initial cost of £6million.

This represents a bit of a pivot for Buddi Limited, which previously limited itself to marketing “Buddi Clips”, a GPS tracking system with built-in fall detection that allows people at risk (such as the elderly) to move freely without being disturbed. worry about it. will not be discovered if they sustain a debilitating injury. The company doesn’t appear to offer a version with built-in facial recognition, so it’ll likely use third-party AI to perform the required check-ins.

Those forced to wear the devices will be required to perform periodic surveillance checks throughout the day by taking a photo of themselves on a smartwatch, with information such as their names, date of birth, nationality and stored photographs up to six years. Locations will be tracked “24/7, allowing trail monitoring data to be logged.”

Facial photographs taken by Buddi-designed smartwatches will be checked against images stored by the UK government. And that’s where the problems start.

The program will only be imposed on “foreign offenders” who have been convicted of a criminal offence. Government-provided information and contract documents do not specify which criminals will receive anklets and which will be forced to verify themselves using the technology that most often fails when asked to recognize faces that are not white. and masculine. Presumably most foreign nationals in the UK will be of the non-white variety.

There is also no reason to believe that this will not be subject to a mission drift from targeting only “dangerous” foreigners but also asylum seekers and anyone else with whom the government interacts and which the government may find useful to monitor.

Fortunately, a false negative will not immediately result in the deployment of law enforcement. If face matching fails, a “manual verification” will be performed. What a manual check entails is not detailed in the article or in the Privacy Impact Assessment prepared by the UK Home Office.

And, while the Home Office believes privacy will be little affected by 24-hour surveillance that requires periodic facial recognition checks, it only believes so because it is necessary to maintain that belief. while doing the things you want. It’s not like a government entity never created a privacy impact assessment and then dropped the planned program because it seemed like it might have a little too much impact on privacy. The UK government says they are just foreigners and criminals and none of them deserve anything less than constant surveillance until they can be safely removed from the country. security.

Filed Under: facial recognition, migrants, smartwatches, surveillance, tracking, uk

Companies: buddi limited