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Fusus’ AI-Powered Surveillance Solutions Stir Controversy in the UK

TL;DR

  • US tech firm Fusus privately lobbies UK councils and police forces to expand AI-powered surveillance.
  • London’s Kensington and Chelsea Council launches a 60-day trial with Fusus.
  • Critics express concerns about the expansion of mass surveillance and the impact on civil liberties.

A US-based technology firm, Fusus, has been actively advocating the adoption of AI-powered surveillance technology by UK councils and police forces. Fusus, known for its “real-time crime center platform” (RTCC), is making significant efforts to enter the UK market, with at least one London council already conducting a trial of its surveillance software. But, as Fusus gains traction in the UK, concerns are growing among civil liberties advocates about the potential implications of increased mass surveillance.

Fusus explores UK expansion for AI-powered surveillance solutions

Fusus, a prominent player in the US surveillance technology landscape, has been making discreet overtures to councils and police forces in the UK, seeking to introduce its AI-powered surveillance solutions. With a newly established office in London’s Canary Wharf earlier this year and the recruitment of former Metropolitan Police officers to approach potential clients, Fusus has been actively pursuing partnerships. Freedom of Information requests revealed that the company has reached out to Tower Hamlets and Hackney borough councils, as well as the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, and Merseyside Police, offering integrated CCTV and surveillance network products.

Kensington and Chelsea Council and Merton Council confirmed their engagement with Fusus when approached by openDemocracy. Kensington and Chelsea Council, in particular, has embarked on a 60-day trial of Fusus, aimed at linking housing estate cameras to a central point for efficient image review during investigations related to community issues. This move has raised questions about the impact on residents’ privacy and whether they were adequately informed about the trial.

Not all councils are rushing to embrace Fusus. Hackney Council stated that no decision had been made yet, but correspondence indicates ongoing discussions, while Tower Hamlets Council has held multiple meetings with Fusus. The Metropolitan Police clarified that they have no immediate plans to collaborate with Fusus, and Merseyside Police echoed a similar sentiment, with the City of London Police remaining tight-lipped on the matter.

Real-time crime centers

At the heart of Fusus’s offerings is its “real-time crime center” (RTCC), a surveillance hub designed to consolidate video and other surveillance technologies into a central feed. Unlike traditional manual monitoring of public CCTV feeds by council and police staff, Fusus’s RTCC automates surveillance processes by incorporating sophisticated analytical software. This enables the analysis of multiple real-time sources of footage and the use of predictive policing software, significantly streamlining law enforcement efforts.

Fusus provides the “FususOPS” app, allowing the remote viewing of surveillance streams, even on officers’ mobile phones. While Fusus touts the advantages of efficiency and enhanced security, critics argue that such technology raises concerns about the erosion of personal privacy and the potential emergence of a “surveillance state.”

Facial recognition and concerns

The implementation of Fusus’s AI-powered technology comes with a range of surveillance tools, including live facial recognition, automatic number plate readers (ANPRs), drones, social media monitoring software, and predictive policing. These tools are already in use by various police forces in the UK. RTCCs consolidate these data sources in real time, providing law enforcement with a comprehensive view of multiple data streams.

Critics have voiced concerns about the potential misuse of these technologies, particularly in targeting activists and marginalized communities. In the US, RTCCs have been utilized to identify and monitor activists and protesters, leading to fears of increased surveillance on individuals in public spaces. The history of surveillance tools has shown a tendency to disproportionately impact marginalized communities, raising questions about the ethical and legal implications of widespread surveillance expansion.

As the debate over the adoption of AI-powered surveillance technology continues, civil liberties advocates, such as Amnesty International, Big Brother Watch, and Liberty, emphasize the need for careful consideration and public discourse regarding the use of such tools by law enforcement agencies. The balance between enhancing security and safeguarding individual rights remains a pressing concern as Fusus seeks to expand its presence in the UK.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Aamir Sheikh

Amir is a media, marketing and content professional working in the digital industry. A veteran in content production Amir is now an enthusiastic cryptocurrency proponent, analyst and writer.

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