Britain’s chief privacy officer grabbed headlines when she became the first international regulator to sanction Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Now Elizabeth Denham is leading the pack in defining privacy standards for facial recognition technology. The United Kingdom has been an early adopter of the controversial technology, which uses artificial intelligence to comb through masses of images looking for matches in a database. And so it’s perhaps not surprising that the country is the epicenter of the pushback against it.
As the U.K.’s information commissioner, Denham has opened an investigation into the use of facial recognition technology in busy parts of London and called for a legal code to be put in place to govern its deployment by police. Denham’s push is in keeping with her trailblazing approach to tech regulation, which has made her a thought leader among European and American peers. Whatever happens with Brexit, Denham is likely to be at the center of the conversation as Europe’s data protection authorities grapple with the technology’s privacy implications.