Criminal Justice Committee
Remote piloted aircraft systems and body worn video cameras
Letter from the Scottish Biometrics Commissioner to the Convener, Criminal Justice Committee, 5 May 2021
Police Scotland’s use of remote piloted aircraft systems and body worn video cameras – Report by Justice Sub-Committee on Policing
I refer to the above report published on 18 March 2021 following the short inquiry into Police Scotland’s current use of remote piloted aircraft systems and body worn video cameras. I also note the recommendations at paragraphs 154 and 223.
The prima facie evidence given to the Committee by Police Scotland would appear to suggest that such devices are a form of overt mobile CCTV surveillance, that any data if not required is overwritten, and that they are not currently equipped or linked to artificial intelligence software with the sort of profiling or search capabilities conventionally present within true biometric software applications.
Although the primary use of such devices is not for biometric data capture and profiling, it is of course possible for individual images downloaded from such sources to be retrospectively searched as a ‘probe’ image against conventional biometric databases such as the U.K Police National Databases.
For this reason, I will of course monitor the future development of any technology used in policing with the potential to acquire, use, retain, or destroy biometric data. The Committee can also be assured of the relevant expertise within my office, and within my Advisory Group.
More broadly, I am aware of the short-life working group established by the Cabinet Secretary to report on the legal and ethical frameworks arising from new and emerging technologies in policing. I am also aware that the Cabinet Secretary’s group will be specifically exploring BWV as a case study. Accordingly, I have communicated separately with Scottish Government officials with an offer to sit in an advisory capacity on the shortlife working group chaired by Dr Aston should they so wish.
Dr Brian Plastow
Scottish Biometrics Commissioner
Letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to the Convener, Criminal Justice Committee, 17 May 2021
Letter from Police Scotland to the Convener, Criminal Justice Committee, 31 May 2021
Letter from the Scottish Police Authority to the Convener, Criminal Justice Committee, Thursday 27 May 2021