The End of Privacy in Public

We’re facing the end of privacy in public, because of the unchecked rise of facial recognition technology (FRT) in public spaces, shops and bars. If you're in the UK, join ‘The End of Privacy in Public’ campaign to demand that your MP finds out if facial recognition cameras are being deployed in your local area.

Credit - Santiago Paulós


The UK is sleepwalking towards the end of privacy in public. The spread of insidious Facial Recognition Technology (FRT) in public spaces across the country will mean we can no longer walk down our local highstreets without being subject to constant monitoring and identification by dystopian surveillance technology.

FRT is an extremely intrusive surveillance technology which uses video cameras in public spaces to harvest sensitive biometric data in the form of facial images from everybody who passes, identifying us and running our data against watchlists. This happens without our knowledge or consent in places like High Streets and supermarkets.

What makes this dystopian future even more disturbing is that there’s no meaningful control over who can use this pernicious technology, and how. Police forces and private companies across the UK are rolling out FRT at an alarming rate and in a legislative vacuum, since no specific law exists to restrict its use. Unchecked and indiscriminate mass surveillance will inevitably follow.

Concerned by the threat that the rise of FRT in public spaces poses to UK society, Privacy International conducted a survey of over 100 MPs which reveals that most don’t even know if it’s being used in their own constituency, and don’t understand how it undermines our human rights.

Read the results of our original research to understand more about what FRT is, how it is being used in the UK and what the implications of our findings are for the end of privacy in public: MPs Asleep at the Wheel as Facial Recognition Technology Spells The End of Privacy in Public.

  • 70% of MPs don’t know whether facial recognition is being used in their own constituency
  • Well over half (56%) of MPs either don’t know whether there is an FRT law, or wrongly think there is one! To be clear, there definitely isn’t!

Our research shows that politicians are ill-informed and complacent about this technology despite the serious threat it poses to our fundamental human rights, including the right to privacy, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression.

Read our original research to find out more and TAKE ACTION by joining our campaign to stop the end of privacy in public, and demand that your MP finds out if facial recognition cameras are being deployed in your local area.