Automatic facial recognition - racial bias

Meeting: 
MQT on 2017-09-14
Session date: 
September 14, 2017
Reference: 
2017/3632
Question By: 
Sian Berry
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor
Category: 

Question

What mechanisms are in place to ensure that the automatic facial recognition software in use by the Metropolitan Police Service is independently tested for racial accuracy biases?

Answer

Answer for Automatic facial recognition - racial bias

Answer for Automatic facial recognition - racial bias

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Independent testing of Facial Recognition Systems (FRS) is undertaken by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) in the US. Although NIST do not test for racial accuracy bias, they do undertake testing for demographic effects.

During trials, the MPS have not used facial recognition software in isolation to determine policing operations.  When the software is used, a defined end to end process is implemented that incorporates human decision making and assessment of any matches that arise.