Police will use live facial recognition software to scan crowds attending Beyonce’s first UK tour date in Cardiff.
The global star kicks off the UK leg of her Renaissance World Tour at the city’s Principality Stadium – her first tour in seven years.
South Wales Police confirmed on Tuesday that live facial recognition technology will be used “to support policing” of the concert.
But facial recognition is not a condition of entry and will not be used at the stadium the force said.
Privacy campaigners have attacked the growing use of the technology by police and have called for a ban on its use.
More recently, the Metropolitan Police has been criticised over its use of facial recognition technology during the coronation.
In 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled that South Wales Police had breached privacy rights, data protection laws and equality legislation through its use of facial recognition technology.
The force paused the use of the technology over concerns that it could have discriminatory effects.
However, the force hailed the technology as a “force for good” last month and has decided to resume its use.
It follows a report by the National Physical Laboratory, commissioned by the Metropolitan Police and South Wales Police, that found there were minimal discrepancies for race and sex when the technology is used in certain settings.
It could even distinguish between identical twins, the report found.
On its website, South Wales Police claims the technology is mainly used at crowded public events to identify people on watchlists as they might pose a danger to the public or themselves.
The force also promises that images that trigger alerts were deleted immediately after use or within 24 hours. Images and biometric data of people who don’t cause an alert are automatically deleted.
However, privacy campaigners have pointed out the technology was found to be less accurate for black people at different settings, and less accurate for young people under the age of 20.
Commenting on South Wales Police’s decision to use live facial recognition at tonight’s Beyonce gig, Jun Pang, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Liberty, said: “We all have the right to go about our lives without being surveilled and monitored by the police. But South Wales Police are now deploying facial recognition technology on a large scale, subjecting more and more people to this invasive practice.”
“Facial recognition is a threat to our freedom – the only safe thing to do with it is to ban it.”