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Ireland’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee Says “The Time for Facial Recognition Technology Has Come”

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Ireland’s government is using every opportunity to charge ahead with promoting facial recognition tech, despite civil liberties groups expressing serious concerns and asking some hard questions about the policy.

But the current Irish authorities don’t seem to be missing a beat making, however tenuous or even distasteful, links to push that policy.

Thanks to those in power there, Ireland’s long-lasting troubles keep casting ever longer shadows, some with brand-new, current overtones.

Namely, there is now controversy in the country, or at least among its most prominent media and politicians, over Irish Republican Army (IRA) member Pearse McAuley being laid to rest with his coffin draped in the nation’s flag, despite the fact he was found guilty of killing a police officer.

Ireland’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee saw this situation as a good opportunity to try to promote the agenda of using even more facial recognition. What better time to say this is needed to “investigate attacks against gardai” – McEntee no doubt thought.

The McAuley funeral “controversy” sort of spiraled out of control, at least as far as the “political panic” and messaging is concerned, reaching, figuratively and literally, some far-off places.

It went everywhere from Mcentee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris attending an event and making comments ranging from condemning the funeral arrangements for the former IRA to advocating for the police force to grow beyond what has been envisaged so far, to citing an extradition cooperation with the United Arab Emirates – to, more facial recognition.

The “tie” that binds together all these policy talking points heaped into one place seems to be – this is as good a chance as any to promote something otherwise very controversial.

“McEntee announced that the use of facial recognition technology (FRT) in investigating crimes was being expanded to include attacks against Garda members,” the Irish press said.

This, even though the Irish police clearly had no problem identifying McAuley as killing an officer – even though there was no mention that facial recognition played any role in this process back 20+ years ago.

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