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Despite privacy concerns, CCTV surveillance cameras with face scanning technology has been approved to be installed in some of London’s more populated shopping and cultural destinations.

Some commercial locations near London Bridge, such as Liberty department store and the Hay’s Galleria mall have won planning consent to install CCTV systems. The CCTV surveillance cameras are being used for the interest of public safety, however the cameras have led privacy advocates to call for the firms installing these cameras to be more transparent about telling the public how data is used and stored.

These surveillance cameras will be powered by a machine learning algorithm and several of those cameras will have facial recognition software. Facial recognition utilizes biometric analysis while cross referencing with a database to understand who the face belongs to, while facial detection is the ability to pick out certain faces from a crowd. 

At least 16 of the cameras being used have the ability to recognize people and places. Some other cameras also include two-way audio, making it possible for operators to eavesdrop and listen into people’s private conversations.

The system is capable of self learning video analytics, as mentions, however a spokesperson for the Liberty department store claims that there were no plans to apply the function.

Public records also show that some sites were also given permission to install panoramic smart cameras with face detection, capable of tracking multiple targets.

In the realm of big brother, some people claim that AI based surveillance cameras are a must for public safety, whereas others claim it penetrates an individual’s right to privacy. The only thing that is certain is that the technology is only going to get better over time.