London cops are subjecting people in the centre of town to facial recognition today and tomorrow

Originally published at:

Maison Margiela might be on to something after all:




Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps, in this petty pace from day to day
– Macbeth, just before he gets wood.


New end game.


Even London police give you an opportunity to opt out? Not Taylor Swift.


I don’t know how I keep getting suckered into Doctorow posts; I avoid glancing at them if I notice the byline in time…

As usual, THIS IS BLATENTLY UNTRUE. No-one is “being told to submit” to anything. People are notified that this will be happening in predefined areas, so can avoid those areas, and the police specifically state that people can opt-out of further interaction.

I don’t remotely support mass facial recognition either, but fictionalising news for effect is worse than pointless.


It is going forward whether the people there want it or not and opting out of visiting your home or a workplace seems like something it would be fair to use the phrase “being told to submit”.


This. It takes a lot of privilege to be able to just take a couple of days off work. Especially with this for a reason. Or to find somewhere else to sleep.

This kind of thing should always be opt-in, not opt-out.


We’ll have to disagree on this. No-one was told - not implied, not ‘in effect’, but specifically told - to ‘submit’ (itself over-emotive rubbish) to anything.

As it happens, I’m not aware of these areas being residential at all. Anyone, police or otherwise-civilian, can photo/video a crowd on a public street, and it is stated that people can opt-out of further interation with the trial (presumably providing/confirming details for matching).

As I said, I really don’t want to defend mass facial recognition either, but twisting facts to the point of untruth is deeply unhelpful. If we’re going to push back, it needs to be using hard evidence, not empty, dismissable rhetoric.

I generally agree with your point but if you’re going to decry Cory’s inaccuracies, I think you have to live with having your own pointed out.

I haven’t seen anything which says that you can ‘opt-out of further interaction’. The only thing the Met have said is:

“Anyone who declines to be scanned during the deployment will not be viewed as suspicious by police officers. There must be additional information available to support such a view.”

In other words, you can ‘opt-out’ by deciding not to enter the area where scanning will take place.

And the police won’t arrest you or put you on a naughty list just for that. Instead they’ll need to add the fact that you ‘looked suspicious’, or ‘excessively nervous’, or ‘fit the profile of a drug dealer/gang member’.

Despite popular belief, quite a few people do still live in Soho and around Leicester Square, etc.

Even if they don’t, the Met are cutting you off from quite a large chunk of the bits of London that people visit.

Rhetoric is fine but it’d be nice to see more of it than just an appeal to pathos.

I mean we’ve got a bit of alliteration:

I suppose we have an appeal to ethos in that Cory is a prominent figure in the field (at least to BoingBoing readers) and we have an appeal to authority:

There’s a bit of an appeal to logos:

I suppose we technically also have colloquialism but other than that as a rhetorical exercise there’s not much there.

Which is probably fair enough for a blog post knocked out in under five minutes, probably on a mobile phone or tablet.

Of course!

Hmm. I interpreted (okay, okay :wink: ) that as everyone will be included in photos/videos of entire crowds (no opt-out other than avoiding the area), but if approached for individual scans or to provide further information (ground truthing, essentially), one can decline to participate.

Excuses for stop and search are a different matter!

I did say “I’m not aware…” rather than ruling it out. :wink:

Okay; you got me. :wink:
You’re taking ‘rhetoric’ a little more literally than I intended, but I did propose greater literalism…

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Hmm, since it is Christmas - the season for self-help books:

Greater Literalism - a guide for life!

Possibly achieve happiness (if so inclined) by ignoring hyperbole, sarcasm and irony! Annoy your acquaintances by taking everything strictly literally! Do not make £££ in your spare time.

Either that or some sort of post-modern, luxury, fully automated gay space communism:

Greater Literalism - the great (metaphorical) leap forward!

Our five year plan (subject to revisions and alterations) will see all wasteful linguistic ambiguities eradicated to the greatest extent considered feasible by a properly constituted voting assembly of all those who choose to participate in the electoral process!

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