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Facial recognition glitch

A claim that facial recognition cameras have been introduced at the Masterton transfer station appears to be a case of mistaken identity.

Concern on the part of the Masterton Ratepayers and Residents Association [MRRA] was sparked by a presenter at the October 25 meeting of Masterton District Council [MDC] who – as part of a broader presentation about the use of technology in the community and Smart Cities – stated that during a recent trip to the transfer station, her husband had been asked to provide full personal details and to lean forward so that a camera could record his face accurately.

Although the Masterton transfer station is operated by Earthcare Environmental, it is owned by MDC.

An MDC spokesperson told the Times-Age that facial recognition technology has not been deployed at the facility but confirmed that Earthcare Environmental does operate a licence plate recognition camera there as part of its measures to track illegal dumping.

Although there are a number of security cameras on the site, “these are not equipped with facial recognition technology”, the MDC spokesperson said.

While MDC denies the use of facial recognition technology, it has also advised that it is “working with Earthcare Environmental to ensure our policies on data retention, use and disposal of personal information, which protect people’s privacy under the Privacy Act, are in alignment”.

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