Bermuda halts facial recognition plans amid privacy concerns and project delays

Criticism from rights groups and political opposition has been refuted by the National Security Minister and Police Commissioner, but the Bermuda Human Rights Commission is investigating the technology’s implications in line with UN directives.

 Face, Head, Person, Photography, Portrait, Body Part, Mouth

Bermuda has halted plans to add facial recognition to its CCTV system due to “practical challenges,” the National Security Ministry announced. As reported by, this follows criticism from rights groups and the political opposition, who raised concerns about privacy and constitutional issues of the public surveillance project.

The Bermuda Human Rights Commission is currently investigating the technology’s implications in line with UN directives. In addition, the Free Democratic Movement, a new political party, criticised the camera system for potentially infringing on freedom of association and constituting unlawful searches.

Despite these concerns, Minister of National Security Michael Weeks and Police Commissioner Darrin Simons assured the public that privacy will not be compromised. However, implementation of the project may be delayed, with only 60 out of 247 cameras operational as of April due to heavy rains and a lack of asphalt. The Bermuda Safe City project aims for completion by July 2024.

Why does it matter?

Recently, the Royal Gazette inquired about the accuracy and type of software in Bermuda’s new CCTV system, especially concerning identification errors. This follows reports around the world of racially biassed mistakes in facial recognition technology, with error rates up to 35% for Black females. Bermuda’s police have used cameras for decades. However, the new system promises enhanced tracking and recognition capabilities. Despite police assurances, studies and incidents, including a lawsuit against Macy’s and a wrongful arrest in Detroit, unveiled significant bias in the technology.