Two large police unions want the Polish search engine PimEyes, which specializes in biometric face recognition, to be stopped. Such a service harbors “huge dangers for the anonymity” of the citizens and “has no business in private hands”, Hagen Husgen from the federal executive of the police union (GdP) told Netzpolitik.org. “This software is dangerous and must be banned.”
Of course, there are also fears that colleagues’ data will be “compared, determined and made public for everyone”, explained Husgen. He spoke of a “horror scenario, but not only for the police”. The GdP therefore sees a need for the legislator, who must act quickly.
Has become similarly clear According to the report, the German Police Union (DPolG) positioned. She also thinks it is unacceptable if private companies offer such identification services. Before that, activists had repeatedly posted photos of police officers on operations around the focal point of Rigaer Strasse in Berlin and posted “wanted calls”.
For investigative purposes, police authorities, on the other hand, always use automated facial recognition services. The search for rioters at the recent G20 summit in the Hanseatic city has been particularly competitive in recent years. The law enforcement agency recently deleted the biometric database after the intervention of the Hamburg data protection officer.
Netzpolitik.org pilloried the questionable PimEyes offer in early July. The Polish operating company claims to have collected the faces of 900 million people in a biometric database. These could already be determined via the portal using a snapshot. It was often possible to assign people and names to jobs by searching for locations on the web.
Only via webcam
PimEyes now only allows users from the EU to search via webcam. It is no longer easy to upload a foreign portrait photo from the Internet. Content from Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok should no longer be found in the hit lists, since these have apparently taken legal action against it. According to the article, the Polish data protection authority still does not want to comment on “more in-depth questions” on the case, since it is too early to do so. But you have the company on the radar.
The SPD chairwoman Saskia Esken speaks of a “very far-reaching encroachment on the fundamental right to informational self-determination”. Software like PimEyes should not become a security risk for citizens and the police, says the interior expert of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group, Mathias Middelberg. Since there are data subjects in Germany, the Federal Data Protection Commissioner Ulrich Kelber and the EU Commission would have to “push for compliance with applicable law” and enforce the relevant GDPR provisions.
MEPs like Tiemo Wölken (SPD) and Green Alexandra Geese appealed to the Commission to set a moratorium on certain facial recognition services, at least as a first step. Her colleague Axel Voss (CDU) spoke to Netzpolitik.org about regulating the use of technology quickly. However, security authorities should be allowed to continue using them.