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Accepted Paper:

Facial Recognition Technology and Its Contestations: Rethinking Privacy and Data Justice in Migration and Law Enforcement  
Francesca Meloni (King's College London)

Paper short abstract:

Criticism of the use of FRT in law enforcement has focused on privacy and data protection rights. Drawing on a landmark legal case, I examine how notions of privacy are mobilised and contested. I argue for the need to rethink privacy in relational terms to open new radical critiques of surveillance.

Paper long abstract:

While facial recognition technology (FRT) has been increasingly used by migration and law enforcement in public spaces, it is also one of the few technologies which has been legally contested and even banned (Aradau and Blanke 2021, Madiega and Mildebrath 2021). Specifically, public contestations of biometric surveillance have mostly focused on how their intrusiveness, as well as their susceptibility to error, violate the right to privacy and data protection (Almeida, Shmarko et al. 2021). Drawing on a landmark legal case around facial recognition and public discourses of law enforcement authorities in the UK, I examine how notions of privacy and data protection have been mobilised and contested in relation to biometric technologies. I show how dominant discussions on privacy are grounded in individualistic notions of rights and primarily concern the ways distinct (and opposing) individual and security interests can be balanced. I argue that, while policies continue to remain deaf to public preoccupations on privacy, these preoccupations ultimately obscure the wider impacts of one individual’s privacy for those with and to whom they are connected. I suggest that a critical engagement with biometric technologies need to complexify privacy and data protection rights in relational terms, to open new conditions for a critique of surveillance.

Panel P08a
AI as a Form of Governance: Imagination, Practice and Pushback
  Session 1 Wednesday 8 June, 2022, -