Malta will get its first CCTV cameras with facial recognition software next year, starting with Paceville before extending into Marsa and other crime hotspots.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has recently confirmed his intention to install the controversial technology across Malta, and indeed such a measure has been included in the Budget for 2019.
A document will be issued for consultation in the coming months, which will, amongst other things, ask the public whether this technology should be administered by the police or by a private entity.
This sort of technology, which has already been implemented in London and other European cities, was proposed for Paceville last year by a government company called Safe City Malta – whose director is MFSA chief executive Joseph Cuscheri.
The plan is to install high-definition CCTV cameras all across Paceville and connect them to a mobile control centre. Facial recognition software will then be used to identify people as they walk in and out of Paceville, and police officers out on the beat will relay data on lawbreakers to the system which would then pick out people’s identities.
The Malta IT Law Association warned the plan amounts to a serious invasion of privacy, against Maltese and EU legislation.
However, Muscat insisted any implementation of this technology will be in full respect of data protection and privacy regulations.