The LAPD banned officers from using commercial facial recognition technology after being confronted about its use of Clearview AI, a controversial software that harvested images from social media

surveillance cameras.JPG Surveillance cameras are pictured on a security fence near the site of the upcoming G7 leaders' summit in Quebec's Charlevoix region, in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattiee

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The Los Angeles Police Department, the third-largest department in the US, issued a moratorium on its use of commercial facial recognition technology in response to inquiries from BuzzFeed News about its officers’ use of Clearview AI, the outlet reported Tuesday.

“Department personnel shall not use third-party commercial facial recognition services or conduct facial recognition searches on behalf of outside agencies,” deputy police chief John McMahon told employees in a memo, according to BuzzFeed News, adding that Clearview and similar tools use “non-criminal source images.”

BuzzFeed News reported that McMahon issued the directive on November 13, after it inquired with the agency about documents that showed “more than 25 LAPD employees ran nearly 475 searches with Clearview AI over a three-month period beginning at the end of 2019.”

The department will still allow authorized employees to use the Los Angeles County Regional Identification System (LACRIS), a facial recognition platform operated by Los Angeles County that relies on technology from DataWorks Plus, according to The Los Angeles Times.

The LAPD did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Clearview has gained notoriety over its software, which it has powered in part by scraping billions of images from major web services such as Facebook, Google, and YouTube, and has sold to law enforcement agencies across the United States.

“Clearview grabs photos from all over the place, and that, from a department standpoint, raises public trust concerns,” McMahon wrote to employees, according to BuzzFeed News.

Both the LAPD and Clearview have come under fire over facial recognition technology as well as their public portrayals of how law enforcement officers and agencies have used it.

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The LAPD has repeatedly misrepresented its use of facial recognition software. But The Los Angeles Times revealed in September that the department has used the technology nearly 30,000 times over the past decade.

“The LAPD had a trial of Clearview AI as have many other law enforcement agencies around the country. Clearview AI is being used by over 2,400 law enforcement agencies around the United States to help solve crimes such as murder, robbery, and crimes against children to keep our communities safe,” Clearview CEO and founder Hoan Ton-That told Business Insider in a statement, adding that the company has implemented features such as training programs and audits to “ensure responsible use” of the software.

But BuzzFeed News has previously reported that Clearview has at various times overstated its capabilities to law enforcement agencies and told them to “run wild” with searches of its face database and even encouraged them to search for friends and family.

Clearview has faced pushback, including legal challenges from regulators, proposed bans from lawmakers, and public outcry over Ton-That’s reported extensive ties to prominent far-right white nationalists.

There is also growing evidence that facial recognition tools may not be producing as accurate or useful results as its proponents claim. Multiple studies have shown that the software and algorithms behind such systems, including …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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