The Belgian federal police has stopped an experiment on automatic face recognition at the airport in Zaventem. The project was contrary to the law, writes De Standaard based on the Police Information Inspectorate (COC).

The police announced in July last year that they would install cameras for facial recognition at Zaventem. According to Commissioner General Marc De Mesmaeker, the law did not have to be amended for this.

At the time, De Mesmaeker spoke about a camera system that recognizes "people with a 'past'". "Then, so to speak, you don't have to stand with a hundred agents to randomly get people out of a row and examine them."

But the COC started an investigation and has since established that the project is "legally impossible". The project is in conflict with the law on the police officer and the data protection law. CCTV is allowed, but not face recognition, says the COC.

The Belgian police say that they are considering the COC's advice, but want to continue to use face recognition. According to the supervisory body, the police must first have a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) carried out, which assesses whether the privacy law is being complied with.