Swedish law would have to change to allow facial recognition testing at Skavsta airport

Stockholm Skavsta is selected as Swedish pilot Airport testing facial recognition technology

The Swedish Data Inspection Authority said it has responded to police query by saying there would need to be a change in legislation if the force were to test facial recognition at Skavsta airport, which serves Stockholm. The idea is to set up a camera at border control to take photographs of passengers. This would be compared with the one on their passport.

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In a first phase, the police need to test the technology to develop the software used. In phase two, the technology will be used by border inspectors at Skavsta Airport. The police believe that the test is necessary for the facial verification in sharp operation in phase two to be done in a legally secure and non-discriminatory manner.

The Data Inspectorate finds that, as the legislation is currently designed, the police cannot carry out tests with sensitive personal data, which is biometric data.

– Our assessment is that the police have a clear need to carry out the intended test, but in order to make this possible a change in legislation is required. That’s why we send our response to the police’s prior consultation for information to the government, says Elena Mazzotti Pallard, a lawyer at the Data Inspectorate.

According to EU and national legislation, the police are already entitled to carry out biometric checks at border checks. In future EU legislation, the police will have an increased duty to carry out such checks.

The idea is to set up a camera at border control to take photographs of passengers. This would be compared with the one on their passport.

The National Police Authorities will introduce the technology in early December. It has become popular among organised crime to using stolen passports when crossing borders in Europe and the technology will help identify frauds.

By 2022 all border crossings in the Schengen area shall use this technology.

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