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Leisure centres scrap biometric systems to keep tabs on staff amid UK data watchdog clampdown

Leisure centres scrap biometric systems to keep tabs on staff amid UK data watchdog clampdown

Leisure centres scrap biometric systems to keep tabs on staff amid UK data watchdog clampdown
Apr 16, 2024 54 secs

Dozens of companies including national leisure centre chains are reviewing or pulling facial recognition technology and fingerprint scanning used to monitor staff attendance after a clampdown by the UK’s data watchdog.

The ICO found that the biometric data of more than 2,000 employees had been unlawfully processed at 38 centres managed by Serco Leisure to check their attendance using facial recognition technology and in two cases via fingerprint scanning systems.

In light of the ICO decision, a number of other leisure centre operators and companies are either reviewing or stopping use of similar biometric technology to monitor staff attendance.

The ICO said in a statement: “As part of our ongoing work following the Serco enforcement and our new guidance, we continue to engage with different stakeholders about how facial recognition and biometric technology can be used appropriately.”

The ICO decision underscores wider growing concerns about employers using facial recognition technology and other surveillance tools to monitor staff.

The Trades Union Congress warned in 2022 that the use of intrusive surveillance technology and artificial intelligence risked “spiralling out of control” without stronger regulation to protect workers.

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