Police criticised for using facial recognition technology at Beyoncé’s Cardiff show
South Wales police say the technology was deployed to identify "persons wanted for priority offences"
South Wales Police has come under fire for its use of controversial facial recognition technology during the Cardiff leg of Beyoncé’s world tour.
In a statement to Mixmag, South Wales Police claims that it utilised the technology to identify "people wanted for priority offences," to support law enforcement and protect vulnerable attendees.
Kicking off her first UK date as part of Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ world tour, around 60,000 fans attended the sold-out event on May 17 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
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Prior to the concert, South Wales police told the BBC News that the facial recognition technology would only be used in Cardiff city centre; not at the stadium itself.
Speaking to Mixmag the police added: “The deployment of Live Facial Recognition in Cardiff on 17 May 2023, was used to support the Beyonce concert being held at Principality stadium.
The police statement explained: “The locations where Facial Recognition is being deployed will be clearly marked with signage.”
Facial recognition technology cameras can compare faces with police data using artificial intelligence to identify wanted people.
The police explained that the footage would be used “to support policing in the identification of persons wanted for priority offences… to support law enforcement… and to ensure the safeguarding of children and vulnerable persons”.
South Wales Police also said that if you are not on its watch list, the biometric data is not stored but immediately deleted.
However, human rights campaigners according to NME were concerned about racial bias.
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Recently, the Metropolitan Police was criticised for using the technology during the King’s coronation as many were concerned about government surveillance, privacy, safety, data collection, and police powers.
The Met Police are currently working with South Wales police to trial Operator Initiated Facial Recognition (OIFR).
OIFR is used by police officers to take photos of suspicious individuals on their phones using a mobile app which compares the image against a database of offenders and missing person watchlists.
Mixmag has reached out to South Wales police for a comment.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Multimedia Editor, follow her on Twitter