ANTARCTICA – Anadolu Agency/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images RTE/Getty Images Irish police say they are testing biometric facial recognition technology in prisons and jails in an attempt to curb the spread of gangland violence.
The biometric devices, which can be activated by a fingerprint reader or a touch screen, are being tested at five prisons and five jails in the north of the country.
“We have been talking to police about using biometrics in prisons, but in this particular case we are using it in prisons where we have to deal with gangs,” a police spokesperson said.
Anadolue Agency/Getty Irish prison and jail security services have been told to develop biometric solutions to prevent gangs from using biographical information to evade detection.
Gangs use gangs to move drugs and weapons, recruit inmates, and extort money from customers.
Last year, a gang in the Dublin suburb of Galway, which includes a major prison, was accused of extorting €500,000 ($650,000) from a man who was forced to pay $400 in cash for his release.
Dublin’s Garda Siochana said the gangs had “bribed and intimidated” the man by threatening him with violence if he didn’t agree to pay the ransom.
Police said the men involved in the extortion ring were using their prison accounts to make payments to other gangs.
Inmates are required to be fingerprinted, but the technology is not being used.
Rights groups say the use of biometric technology will not lead to a reduction in crime, but they also warn the systems will pose a risk to the privacy of prisoners.