Big Brother Watch has filed a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office about Southern Co-operative’s use of facial recognition software. The complaint says that using surveillance cameras and software developed by Chinese state-owned firm Hikvision and sold by Facewatch infringes individuals' rights.

Apparently Southern Co-operative are using this in 35 stores across the south of England - including London. They're sharing information between their own stores and other users of the Facewatch system, but not with the police.

Big Brother Watch commented: "The Southern Co-op’s use of live facial recognition surveillance is Orwellian in the extreme, highly likely to be unlawful, and must be immediately stopped by the Information Commissioner."

We await confirmation whether the ICO will investigate. Concerns over the use of live facial recognition keep coming. We recently reported on the ICO issuing a £7.5m fine to a company that doesn't have customers in the UK. See: Facial recognition company gets data fine and Smile Amazon delivery drivers: you're on AI. We also reported on the use by Amazon focused on its drivers.

The lesson here is that if you're going to use facial recognition, you should ensure you have undertaken a Data Protection Impact Assessment and are able to justify use.

If you need advice, contact me or +44 (0) 20 7611 2338.