The Dilemma of Digital Colonialism unmasking facial recognition technology and data sovereignty in Aotearoa New Zealand
Keywords:Facial recognition technology, Māori data sovereignty, Surveillance, Data colonialism, Emerging technologies, Law enforcement
Law enforcement agencies have become increasingly reliant upon facial recognition technology (FRT) as a powerful surveillance tool in the fight against crime. Developing at an unprecedented rate, FRT has exceeded the incremental pace of law and policy. This has resulted in unregulated over-surveillance, triggering questions about police misconduct and ethnic discrimination. In Aotearoa New Zealand, targeted surveillance and the emergence of FRT have reignited concerns over inherent colonialist practices, dismissive of obligations to te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori rights. They have also provided for a new wave of discussion on how future policy might incorporate Māori data sovereignty. While a highly valuable policing tool, its lack of regulation, technological accuracy and potential racial bias have led some countries, including Aotearoa New Zealand, to impose a moratorium on FRT use in law enforcement. Policymakers must now look at how to dismantle what is fast becoming an age of digital colonialism.
Permission: In the interest of promoting debate and wider dissemination, the IGPS encourages use of all or part of the articles appearing in PQ, where there is no element of commercial gain. Appropriate acknowledgement of both author and source should be made in all cases. The IGPS retains copyright. Please direct requests for permission to reprint articles from this publication to firstname.lastname@example.org.