The St. James Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, plans on installing facial recognition security cameras in a new children’s hospital facility that’s still under construction.
When the decision prompted backlash, a representative of a group that oversees development of new pediatric hospitals argued that the technology would protect babies from would-be kidnappers, according to The Irish Times. Presumably, the argument goes, facial recognition tech would help hospital security or law enforcement protect babies more than CCTV footage alone.
But civil rights groups argued that putting facial recognition in a hospital would be an invasion of privacy for patients and their family members, the Irish Times reports.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties also pushed back against the hospital’s decision to use cameras designed by the Chinese company Hikvision. The cameras are banned in American federal government buildings over concerns of Chinese surveillance, raising red flags for the civil rights watchdog group.
Because of the ongoing debate, the Dublin City Council said that it hasn’t yet determined whether or not facial recognition tools will be used — the security cameras can still work without the added surveillance feature switched on.
With the hospital set for a 2023 opening, according to the Irish Times, the council still has time to decide if facial recognition is actually crucial to stop would-be baby thieves.
READ MORE: Controversial cameras needed at children’s hospital ‘to prevent babies being taken’ [The Irish Times]
More on privacy: AOC Warns That Facial Recognition Is “Real-Life ‘Black Mirror'”