The first major legal challenge to police use of automated facial recognition surveillance begins in Cardiff later.
Ed Bridges, whose image was taken while he was shopping, says weak regulation means AFR breaches human rights.
The civil rights group Liberty says current use of the tool is equivalent to the unregulated taking of DNA or fingerprints without consent.
South Wales Police defends the tool but has not commented on the case.
In December 2017, Ed Bridges was having a perfectly normal day.
“I popped out of the office to do a bit of Christmas shopping and on the main pedestrian shopping street in Cardiff, there was a police van,” he told BBC News.
“By the time I was close enough to see the words ‘automatic facial recognition’ on the van, I had already had my data captured by it.
“That struck me as quite a fundamental invasion of my privacy.”
The case could provide crucial guidance on the lawful use of facial technology, which is a far more powerful policing tool than traditional CCTV – as the cameras take a biometric map, creating a numerical code of the faces of each person who passes the camera.
These biometric maps are uniquely identifiable to the individual.
“It is just like taking people’s DNA or fingerprints, without their knowledge or their consent,” said Megan Goulding, a lawyer from the civil liberties group Liberty which is supporting Ed Bridges.
However, unlike DNA or fingerprints, there is no specific regulation governing how police use facial recognition or manage the data gathered.
Liberty argues that even if there were regulations, facial recognition breaches human rights and should not be used.
The tool allows the facial images of vast numbers of people to be scanned in public places such as streets, shopping centres, football crowds and music events.
The captured images are then compared with images on police “watch lists” to see if they match.
“If there are hundreds of people walking the streets who should be in prison because there are outstanding warrants for their arrest, or dangerous criminals bent on harming others in public places, the proper use of AFR has a vital policing role,” said Chris Phillips, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office.
“The police need guidance to ensure this vital anti-crime tool is used lawfully.”
Facial recognition’s usefulness for spotting, for example, terrorist suspects and preventing atrocities is clear but Liberty says the technology is being used for much more mundane policing, such as catching pickpockets.
Liberty also says:
images of people on watch lists can come from anywhere
police have not ruled out taking watch list images from social media
some lists include people not wanted for any crime
AFR has been used to look for people with mental health conditions
Ed Bridges had his image captured by facial recognition for a second time at a peaceful protest against the arms trade.
His legal challenge argues the use of the tool breached his human right to privacy as well as data protection and equality laws.
Three UK police forces have used facial recognition in public spaces since June 2015:
South Wales Police
Liberty believes South Wales Police has used facial recognition the most of the three forces, at about 50 deployments, including during the policing of the Champions League final in Cardiff in June 2017, where it emerged that, of the 2,470 potential matches made, 92% (2,297) were wrong.
The information commissioner and the surveillance camera commissioner have both become involved in Ed Bridges’s case, as has the Home Office, indicating the high level of interest and concern about the parameters within which facial recognition can lawfully operate.
The case is expected to last three days, with judgment reserved to a later time.
But Mr Hammond will warn business leaders on Tuesday that there is “no mandate” for such an outcome and that even with “all the preparation in the world” it would be highly damaging.
“To advocate for no deal is to hijack the result of the referendum and in doing so knowingly to inflict damage on our economy and our living standards,” he will say.
He will say he will continue to make the case for a negotiated exit, based on what he regards as the “absolute obligation to protect jobs, businesses and future prosperity”.
“We need to be clear, that if we do not resolve this issue in the next few weeks, there is a real risk of a new prime minister abandoning the search for a deal, and shifting towards seeking a damaging no-deal exit as a matter of policy.”
It is a thoroughly unremarkable occurrence to see a letter in The National Archives addressed ‘To my most loving brother’. Literally thousands of pieces of correspondence bear some version of this rhetorical commonplace. Only one, however, does so in Irish.
Writing in 1618, Brian Coghlan of King’s County – present day Offaly – addressed a letter to the German colonial adventurer Mathew de Renzi with the endorsement ‘Tabuir dom dearbratear ro gradhach .i. do mhaithgamhuin de rensi a maile atha cliath maille re (?) moran bEnnacht’, which we might translate as ‘Give to my most loving brother .i. to Matthew de Renzi in Dublin with many blessings’.
Brian Coghlan writing to Mathew de Renzi. WALE 31 7
The endorsement came to the attention of archivist Dr Daniel Gosling while working to catalogue a cache of documents related to early seventeenth-century land disputes in the Irish midlands, principally in County Offaly. It was not the first Irish language discovery in the WALE 31 cataloguing process, however. A few months prior the world had been introduced to some mysterious text on the outside fold of a small, folded petition.
Mysterious text on a small, folded petition. WALE 31 7
Keen to spread word of the discovery, and to crowdsource its transcription and translation, Dr Paul Dryburgh posted images on Twitter. These came to the attention of the present authors courtesy of Dr Neil Johnston, who looped us into the conversation given our association with a collaborative project that promotes the reading of Early Modern Irish, Léamh.org. The text turned out to be the names of townlands contested in a dispute pitting de Renzi and members of the local elite family of the MacCoghlans.
The dispute – traceable over dozens of petitions, letters and the like – is of immense historical value for the richness of detail it provides into land holding and settler-indigenous relations. Perhaps more interesting, still, is the light it sheds on the active role of Irish Gaelic participants in common law procedure, their links to the state, and the range of positions they took vis-à-vis the settler community. We are conditioned to think of Irish-English relations in the seventeenth century as grounded in conflict driven by imperial expansion, horrific violence, and culture destruction through ‘Anglicization’. And rightly so. But interests, affinities and alliances could cross political, religious and ethnic lines, Coghlan’s letter to ‘his loving brother’ serving as case in point.
The importance of the WALE 31 find, thus, lies less in the brief text itself but in how it puts English-language sources into conversation with Irish ones. In this way, the value of the Gaelic materials at The National Archives far outweighs their number or volume.
An extraordinary case in point, also drawn from the de Renzi papers [TNA SP 46/90 f. 50], is a letter from the hereditary poet Tadhg Mac Bruaideadha. Dated 1617, this is one of but a handful of extant examples of correspondence in Irish. No mere exchange of pleasantries and update on the kids, Mac Bruaideadha’s letter was an epistolary throwing of the gauntlet challenging bardic colleagues to a literary duel over the relative merits of Ireland’s northern and southern halves (Leath Cuinn and Leath Mogha, respectively). The ensuing debate, known to posterity as the Contention of the Bards (Iomárbhagh na bhFileadh), would generate dozens of poetic thrusts and parries extolling the virtues of the poets’ native regions and their historic kings while disparaging those of their rivals. Yet only the letter from Mac Bruaideadha, the sole copy of which exists in The National Archives’ holdings, gives a sense for the originating motivations and broader stakes and goals of the contest.
Drawn from the de Renzi papers, a letter from poet Tadhg Mac Bruaideadha. TNA SP 6/90 f. 50
While the primary story here concerns the manuscripts, it is worth noting the importance of the medium as well as the message. By blasting images of the Irish script on Twitter, The National Archives’ team connected to both Irish- and English-language scholarly communities.
Demonstrating the possibilities afforded by the platform, a number of scholars and online collaboratives, including Léamh, were alerted to Dryburgh’s query.
Within 24 hours, specialists in Irish history and Irish-language palaeography had come together on Twitter to work out collectively a transcription of the manuscript and the first steps toward a translation. Notable here was the way that relationships in real life translated into, and augmented, connections online, which in turn enabled real-time scholarly collaboration.
Also worth noting is how the affordances provided by social media encouraged a level of public risk-taking rarely available through more conventional means of scholarly communication (e.g. the printed book or the scholarly article). Because the tweet-and-reply framework allowed for an iterative approach to the work of transcription and translation, scholars were willing, and indeed eager, to help each other out, willing to risk getting something wrong and work collaboratively. In this way, Léamh and other online collaborations have helped nurture a loose-knit community of scholars and in a small way helped lay the groundwork for future scholarship that crosses linguistic and disciplinary boundaries.
That said, we should leave the last word to the manuscripts themselves. These documents are penned in Irish script and, with their many examples of abbreviations and contractions, reflect traditional scribal practice. Such scribal shorthand, though an integral part of the script, can make the deciphering of sources such as these a difficult task. While some of the contractions are clear enough (such as the ‘n stroke’, a single horizontal stroke above a character indicating that it is followed by the letter n), others can be more ambiguous, and a familiarity with Early Modern Irish language and grammar is often required to simply transcribe a text, not to mention translate it! This highlights the benefit of bringing together scholars from different fields – historians, linguists, experts in palaeography and manuscripts – to fully realise the potential of the archive’s Irish language sources.
There are some useful online resources for helping people to learn to read the Irish script as well: a detailed description of many common contractions and abbreviations can be found at Tionscadal na nod and the digitisation of dozens of Irish manuscripts on Irish Script on Screen has made a vast corpus of hitherto hidden material more widely accessible.
These examples from the archives afford us a mere glimpse into the wealth of Irish language material that is preserved in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century manuscripts and are a reminder of how Irish language sources can broaden our understanding of not only Early Modern Ireland, but that of England and Europe too. While the focus of Irish language scholars working on this period has been mainly on literature, and especially on Bardic poetry (which is, of course, a rich historical source in itself), these documents represent the broad range and variety of extant Early Modern Irish manuscript material, which includes petitions, letters, genealogies, prose and travel writings. Even signatures, notes, jottings and scribal marginalia, often dismissed as scribblings, can tell stories which are often obscured by more traditional sources. In the land petition above, for example, the note penned in English beneath the Irish script is a reminder of how the cultural spheres of ‘Gaelic’ and ‘English’ Ireland coexisted and cannot be understood as mutually exclusive entities, and thus reveals the complexities of relationships, cultural spheres and identities in Early Modern Ireland – topics recently explored to fascinating effect at the ‘Dominus Hibernie/Rex Hiberniae’ conference at The National Archives.
One thing reinforced at that conference is the rarity with which an Irish correspondent might address a settler colonist in the intimate terms Coghlan chose; another is that should some further linguistic treasure of the Irish past emerge in the archives, the watchful and social media savvy archivists of The National Archives will surely alert us using the 280-character epistolary conventions of our age. But what exactly is the emoji for ‘my most loving brother’?
Eurovision 2019: Duncan Laurence of the Netherlands has won this year’s contest (Image: BBC)
12:07am – Netherlands first win in 44 years
The Netherlands have not won the competition in 44 years since Teach-In in 1975.
Previously, they took home the trophy in 1957 and 1959.
12:00am – Netherlands WIN Eurovision 2019
The public vote has come to an end naming the Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence as the winner of this year’s contest with 492 points.
The UK’s Michael Rice came last with just 16 points.
11.53pm – UK plunge to LAST place
As the public vote comes the UK falls to last place in a disappointing result.
Norway have now risen up the ranks to overtake Sweden.
11.45pm – North Macedonia on track to win
Votes are coming in and North Macedonia looks set to claim a shock victory as the small nation enjoys a flurry of votes.
The result could be a surprise as the Balkan nation was not previously tipped as a favourite.
11.22pm – London calling
Rylan Clark-Neal has revealed the votes for the UK
North Macedonia gets 12 points from the UK’s jury selection, which means the nation is surging up the leaderboard.
This competition is really heating up at North Macedonia is emerging as a new favourite.
This new voting system from 2015 has really shaken things up and made things interesting.
11.16pm – The votes are coming in
The votes are starting to come in rapidly and it’s looking good for Italy early on.
Favourites the Netherlands aren’t at the top but are within the top five at the moment.
A number of countries still don’t have any points but at least the UK has got some now.
Eurovision 2019: results are coming in (Image: BBC)
11.07pm – The voting lines are now closed
The results are going to be coming in shortly from the different nations.
It’s starting to get tense as we wait tentatively for the vote.
10.58pm – Madonna takes to the stage
This is the first time in the history of Eurovision that Madonna has taken to the stage and is the third time the star has performed in Israel.
Graham is saying what we’re all thinking: “A slightly muted from the audience. But she showed up and she put on a show.”
Sadly, many fans found the performance underwhelming and hit out on social media.
10.45pm – Anticipation for Madonna’s performance is building
One fan said: “Lets have a quick chat with our performers. Nooooo I don’t care!!! Bring Madonna on stage NOW #Eurovision.”
Another wrote: “All hail Queen Madonna #Eurovision.”
10.30pm – Time for the interval
Eurovision fans have taken to social media to reveal who they would like to see win tonight’s show.
One said: “Iceland are my winners #eurovision,” and another wrote: “Norway. Iceland. Switzerland. #eurovision.”
A third tweeted: “I’m calling it. Greece to win. #eurovision.”
“Slovenia, Cyprus, France are my favorites so far. Honorable mentions for Iceland, Norway and Italy :> #Eurovision,” a fourth remarked.
10.10pm – That’s it! The lines have opened so get voting for your favourite
10.05pm – Spain are the final country to perform
Miki is the last singer to take to the stage after an evening of brilliant performances.
He performs his vibrant song La Venda and is joined on stage by very colourfully dressed backing dancers.
10.01pm – Another bookies favourite, Australia
Kate Miller-Heidke performs Zero Gravity and is now of the favourites to win after her impressive semi-final performance.
The singer looks stunning in an extravagant gown and puts on a great performance accompanied by thrilling stage.
9.57pm – Switzerland, another favourite performs
Luca Hanni performed in the second semi-final earlier in the week with his up-beat tune She Got Me.
This could be one to watch as Graham adds: “By far one of the biggest reactions in the hall.”
Eurovision 2019: Madonna performs at the Eurovision Song Contest (Image: BBC)
9.52pm – Serbia take to the stage
Eurovision goes from catchy pop tune to power ballad with Serbia’s entry.
Nevena Bozovic belts out Kruna as she represents her country.
9.48pm – Italy are up next
Representing Italy is Mamood with his song Soldi, which is already a big hit.
After the performance, Graham commented: “They love it here in the hall and remember it has been a huge hit, expect that to do well.”
9.45 – France, another Big Five country, takes to the stage
France did not have to compete in the semi-finals as they are one of the Big Five countries.
Bilal Hassani performs for the first time tonight with song Roi.
The singer is joined on stage by a famous French ballet dancer as an important message about acceptable is shown on the screen behind them.
Eurovision 2019: Australia’s impressive staging (Image: GETTY)
9.41 – The next performance is Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan follows on from Belarus as we near closer to the end of tonight’s performances.
Singer Chingiz takes to the stage to perform song Truth.
9.37 – Time for Belarus
Next up to perform for the audience is Zena singing her tune Like it for Belarus.
Amazingly, the young singer is only 16 years old.
9.33pm – Eurovision’s next county is Estonia
Estonia is the 18th country to perform tonight as Victor Crone takes to the stage.
Enjoying Victor’s rendition of Storm, viewers took to Twitter to comment.
One said: “The kind of music to make you feel happy is fairly present this year #estonia #Eurovision.”
“Country songs are exactly what eurovision needed thank u estonia #eurovision,” said another.
9.29 – Iceland is next
Hatari is the next performer to take to the stage and will be belting out song Hatrio mun sigra.
Very unusual stage setting, as Hatari is performing a metal cage.
9.22pm – IT’S TIME FOR THE UK TO PERFORM
Michael Rice will be hoping to impress viewers with his rendition of Bigger Than Us.
Bookies have not predicted great things for this song but Eurovision is full of surprises.
Viewers watching at home have been quick to support Michael.
One said: “Michael Rice you have done yourself and the UK proud. Fabulous performance! Definitely deserving of a win! You are a winner no matter what the scoreboard says at the end of the evening. Much love xxx.”
Another remarked : “@bbceurovision @grahnort loving the show so far #michaelrice Was brilliant good luck to him.”
9.17pm – Norway’s three-piece are the 15th country to take to the stage
Singers Alexandra Rotan, Tom Hugo and rapper Fred Buljo make up the band KEiiNO.
They are performing song Spirit In The Sky that includes joik, the oldest living vocal tradition in Europe.
Eurovision 2019: Michael Rice represented the UK (Image: GETTY)
9.15pm – The host’s country entry is next to perform
Kobi Marimi takes to the stage to represent Israel who won last year’s competition.
The song was written especially for him and Graham warns that it will be an emotional performance.
As he finishes the powerful ballad, Kobi breaks down in tears.
9.08pm – Katherine Duska representing Greece is next
In an extravagant gown, Katherine Duska performs her song Better Love.
After the performance, Graham confesses: “Have I been in the Euro bubble too long? I enjoyed that!”
9.06pm – It’s time for the bookies favourite, the Netherlands
Duncan Laurence is the hot favourite to win the competition with his ballad Arcade.
With simple staging, the single puts on an emotional performance.
Will he win the show or will he be beaten in a shock twist?
9.01pm – Cyprus is next to perform for the audience
Tamta gives an upbeat performance of her song Replay as she represents Cyprus in the competition.
She wears a revealing latex body suit and extremely high thigh boots.
The audience is on its feet as they catchy tune gets them dancing.
8.56pm – Slovenia take to the stage
Zala Kralj and Gasper Santl are representing Slovenia with their duet of song Sebi.
Commenting on their performance, Graham remarks: “Romantic or creepy? You decide.”
The two give an emotional performance and as they finish Graham adds: “I’ve decided, it’s creepy.”
Eurovision 2019: Kobi broke down in tears (Image: BBC)
8.53pm – Sweden’s turn
John Lundvik takes to the stage ready to perform his song Too Late for Love.
The writer for this song is also one of the co-writers for the UK’s entry.
Backing singers, the Big Mamas join John helping to get the party started and as the performance comes to an end members of the audience can be seen dancing.
8.46pm – North Macedonia is up next
In a completely different style, Tamara Todevska takes to the stage to perform.
As she belts out her own song Pride, viewers at home are taking to Twitter to share their thoughts on the show.
One said: “I am forcing my boyfriend to watch this. He claims to dislike it but I caught him chair dancing #Eurovision.”
“San Marino! Proper Eurovision, that was,” tweeted another.
“Wow #NorthMacedonia has produced not only a singer with a fabulous voice, but also a very powerful song without all the gimmicks. She won’t get many points of course because #Eurovision is now all about weird dress, weird dance and swinging from the ceiling,” wrote a third.
8.42pm – San Marino’s entry starts to sing
Serhat is representing San Marino with catchy tune Say Na Na Na.
He’s joined by a number of backing dancers who bring the party atmosphere to the performance.
Will viewers be saying yes yes yes to San Marino?
8.39pm – Denmark takes to the stage
Leonara begins her performance of Love Is Forever as the audience joins in.
Time for more unusual staging with a giant grey chair in the middle of the stage.
If the audience’s reaction matches viewers at home then this could do well tonight.
8.33pm – Sergey Lazarev for Russia is next
Representing Russia is Sergey Lazarev who takes to the stage in a white suit.
Russia brings with it the first unusual staging of the night as a number of different silhouettes of Sergey being rained are are projected on the screen.
Eurovision 2019: Graham Norton is providing the UK commentary (Image: BBC)
8.26pm – Czech Republic’s entry performs
Czech Republic’s Lake Malawi are the first band of the night with their rendition of Friend of Friend.
The lead singer gets the crowd joining in and clapping their hands
8.23pm – Jonida Maliqi representing Albania is next
Next up is Albania in the unlucky number two spot with Jonida Maliqi and the song Ktheju tokës.
Graham points out the singer who performs second on the show has never won the competition.
8.17pm – Malta takes to the stage
Michele Pace, with her rendition of song Chameleon, is the first performer on tonight’s show.
The 18-year-old was chosen to represent Malta after winning X Factor Malta.
Praising the young singer, Graham remarked: “What a tough job, to come out here and kick off the competition.”
8.12pm – Eurovision 2019 has begun
Last year’s winner Netta Barzilali kicks off the show by disembarking from a life-size plane.
All of this year’s acts are taking to the stage in the order that they will perform tonight.
Dana International, who won the competition for Israel in 1998, performs her winning song Diva.
Netta and Dana introduce tonight’s hosts Bar Refaeli, Erez Tal, Assi Azar and Lucy Ayoub.
7.45pm – 15 minutes to go until Eurovision begins
Eurovision Song Contest 2019 is about to kick off and fans on social media are getting into the spirit of the competition.
“Me & the missus walked down the aisle to the #Eurovision theme #TrueStory,” one viewer reminisced.
Another added: “Fingers crossed to you all in #Eurovision.”
“#Eurovision here we go, looking forward to watching a great show,” a third wrote.