Will Face and Emotion Recognition Change the UK? Big Innovation Centre’s Campaign at the Political Party Conferences 2020

During this year’s Party Conference season 2020, we address the big question:

Will Face and Emotion Recognition Change the UK?


The campaign messages are also below + we have included responses from some of UK’s leading Parliamentarians

Facial recognition is changing e-Commerce and in parts of the world you can now be paying with Your Face.


Already in 2018, an Alibaba fin-tech affiliate began trialling a system that it calls Smile to Pay. Google and Amazon have begun flirting with similar thoughts, but privacy concerns in the United States and the EU have held back launching something similar.

There are cameras everywhere. Our streets, transport, where you work, in our homes and your webcam on your PC. The technology now allows cameras to recognise your face, and even your emotions or presumed state of mind

Face recognition is indeed convenient when opening your mobile phone using its inbuild camera, and for digital games when children apply face filter technologies. But if surveillance cameras are applied for policing, or at transport and football grounds, or if applied in shops for marking purposes, we are in an entirely different situation with new opportunities and indeed challenges.

But should we stop it while we are thinking?


Here is the UK dilemma!


Face Recognition is already being applied in major global regions which are now building accurate face recognition technologies from collecting billions of data. 

  • If we in the UK STOP the use of face recognition, we are in a vicious circle of no data (nor R&D incentives) for our developers to innovate high spec and safe solutions. So, the UK’s entrepreneurs will fall behind, and once regulation is in place our foreign competitors already have superior solutions. 
  • But if we use face recognition now, our regulatory system is not in place around safeguarding its citizens – as we don’t have enough data collected to train our cameras for safe application.

To turn this vicious circle into a virtuous cycle, the UK policymakers must be decisive on the ‘purposeful use’ and limits of face recognition technologies, and the underpinning ‘data governance’.

Big Innovation Centre is hosting the UK debate around this and other emerging technologies as AI, Blockchain and digital health. Join us!


Face and emotion recognition deployment must guarantee data protection and not discriminate against citizens


Data protection and anti-discrimination must be guaranteed in the deployment of Face and Emotion Recognition Technologies. The technologies must be used in such a way that protects citizens’ privacy and they must not reinforce societal prejudices or exploit vulnerable groups and individuals.

Recently, the evidence presented at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence (APPG AI) concluded that public and private institutions and businesses must be transparent about (i) where Face and Emotion Recognition Technologies are deployed and for what purpose, (ii) what kind of data they collect, and (iii) how they are processed and stored. Transparency is paramount.

Our policymakers must now decide on a clear regulatory framework to ensure fair and safe use of face recognition technologies.

Developers or those procuring them need to know the agreed standards, to secure their investments into our future infrastructure.

What face recognition policy shall the UK have?


  • Shall UK citizens provide their consent each time their face is measured OR shall companies which are producing or implementing the technologies decide on ethical governance structures around face recognition OR is it the UK Government-regulation which shall set the rules OR is face recognition a global issue and we must accept global standards which UK shall try to co-produce?
  • Shall it be mandatory to accept face recognition technologies to be applied in certain contexts? (e.g. policing or football grounds).
  • Shall Emotion Recognition (not just Face Recognition) be allowed on UK streets, shops, and other places?

Who cares?

  • What are the issues regarding Face Recognition which concerns local communities (or your constituency) the most?
  • How can UK entrepreneurs ever become global leaders on Face Recognition technologies when we have no or little data to share (because of tough data governance), or shall we purchase our cameras and algorithms from China and USA?

Join the network that is shaping the future with AI & Blockchain




All-Party Parliamentary Groups:

Artificial Intelligence – https://uk.bicpavilion.com/about/appg-artificial-intelligence

Blockchain – https://uk.bicpavilion.com/about/appg-blockchain

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