We have seen that the use of facial recognition technology is becoming more and more common nowadays. This technology is being used on airports, public transport facilities and other places where people need to be scanned. With the help of facial recognition, the people’s faces are scanned and it does not cause any delays too.
While we can say that facial recognition is common in such places, we can’t say the same about this technology in the museums. However, Liverpool World Museum has revealed that they used facial recognition technology on its visitors for an exhibition it held last year.
This exhibition was called China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors, which ran last year from February to October. In this exhibition, the Liverpool World Museum used facial recognition on every visitors that came to this show. While we were not aware of the use of this technology, the museum says visitors were made aware of its use. Also, the museum says these “surveillance measures were put in place because of heightened security risk”
A privacy campaign group focused on the protection of civil liberties named Big Brother Watch revealed this development to the public. It is quite possible that no one would have known about this if Big Brother Watch hadn’t revealed it. Big Brother Watch’s director slammed this move by the museum and said that it is a “dark irony” while adding that “this authoritarian surveillance tool is rarely seen outside of China”. She added that many of the faces scanned during this exhibition might be of school children as well.
National Museums Liverpool released an official statement saying that:
“the organisation used facial recognition technology at [the World Museum] when there was a heightened security risk during the Terracotta Warriors and the First Emperor exhibition in 2018. This was put in place after seeking advice from Merseyside Police and local counter-terrorism advisors and was clearly communicated in signage around the venue. World Museum did not receive any complaints and it is no longer in use.”