Sweden wants to allow police to use facial recognition technology

The Swedish government on Monday wants to allow police to use real-time facial recognition technology via cameras in public places to identify suspects in certain crimes.

The announcement comes after the European Union adopted rules in March to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) that ban real-time facial recognition in public places but allow some exceptions for authorities.

In December, the Swedish government ordered an inquiry into expanding the security forces’ powers to use surveillance cameras, including the use of facial recognition technology.

Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer told a press conference that the results of a consultation to the government on Monday aimed to provide the “information” needed to make “substantial” progress in using cameras to fight crime.

“Real-time facial recognition in public places should be allowed for crime prevention purposes to the extent permitted by EU regulations on AI,” said Casimir Aberg, who led the research.

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EU exceptions include searching for missing persons or victims of human trafficking or preventing imminent threats such as a terrorist attack.

It also allows technology to be used to track down people suspected of committing certain crimes.

Aberg said police can only use the technology for crimes punishable by at least four years in prison, and only with the authorization of a judicial officer.

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He added that the technology should be allowed only for specific investigations and not on a preventive basis.

The Strommer government welcomed the proposal and said it believed the inquiry fully addressed the balance between legitimate concerns and effectively fighting crime.

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He added that although no date has been proposed for the implementation of the scheme, the government will start work to finalize the scheme.


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