After Being Notified Of Info It Should Have Already Been Aware Of, LAPD Bans Clearview Use By Investigators

from the ohhhhhhh-those-unauthorized-uses dept

The Los Angeles Police Department is shutting down a very small percentage of its facial recognition searches. Last month, public records exposed the fact that the LAPD had been lying about its facial recognition use for years. Up until 2019, the department maintained it did not use the tech. Records obtained by the Los Angeles Times showed it had actually used it 30,000 times over the past decade.

The most recent development in the LAPD's mostly dishonest use of this tech is that it will not allow personnel to mess around with certain third-party offerings. As Buzzfeed reports, the LAPD has forbidden the use of Clearview by officers following the release of information the department already should have already been aware of.

Documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News showed that more than 25 LAPD employees ran nearly 475 searches with Clearview AI over a three-month period beginning at the end of 2019.

[...]

LAPD officials confirmed that investigators were using Clearview AI but declined to say which officers and which specific cases it was used for. They also refused to say whether the facial recognition software has led to arrests of any suspects.

Now that the public knows what the LAPD already should have known, the department is changing its policy to exclude Clearview… and probably not much else.

The Los Angeles Police Department has banned the use of commercial facial recognition systems, following inquiries from BuzzFeed News about its officers' use of a controversial software known as Clearview AI.

Have to love the fact that the LAPD needed to be apprised of what its own investigators were doing by journalists. That's the level of internal oversight we've come to expect from the nation's law enforcement agencies. If you don't look for anything, it's almost impossible to find misconduct and abuses of power. No news is the best news. And it can easily be achieved by doing nothing at all.

This ban only affects "commercial" software which means investigators will still be able to use (and misuse) more official products, like the facial recognition system owned by the county -- the same one the LAPD spent years denying it used.

And, although it's an incremental change that seems to only forbid the use of one particular facial recognition product, it's still good to see another law enforcement agency kick Clearview to the curb. Clearview's unproven AI trawls a database of photos scraped from the internet, making it a highly questionable addition to any government agency's surveillance repertoire. And Clearview has been highly irresponsible in its marketing and distribution of its tech, making unverified claims about law enforcement successes while encouraging government employees to test drive the software by feeding it faces of friends, family members, celebrities, etc.

If more agencies uninvite this third-party interloper, law enforcement critical mass will make Clearview's business plan untenable. It's already ditched most of its private customers in response to lawsuits. If the potential customers it has left refuse to do business with it, it will soon become little more than a horrible memory.

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Filed Under: facial recognition, lapd, surveillance
Companies: clearview, clearview ai


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2020 @ 4:17pm

    'LAPD had been lying about its facial recognition use for years'

    ... the "entire LAPD" was not lying about Facial Recognition use -- it was specifically a Josh Rubenstein, the LAPD's Public Information Director and Commanding Officer of the Public Communications Group (PCG); he works directly for the LAPD Chief of Police, Michel Moore.

    Before joining the LAPD Rubenstein served as Chief Meteorologist for KCBS and KCAL Television in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years.
    As an Emmy-award winning TV journalist and TV meteorologist for both stations, he provided weather analysis and some news and human-interest stories.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Dec 2020 @ 7:18pm

      The entire LAPD

      Do you believe an institution should not be held responsible for abuses of power conducted by its officers, Anonymous Coward?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2020 @ 6:49am

        Re: The entire LAPD

        Right-- every file clerk, janitor, car mechanic, and ordinary street cop on the LAPD payroll should share the blame for this lying.
        "Institutions" are concise, living, thinking, acting entities -- not just some mental abstraction.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Dec 2020 @ 1:10pm

          "every file clerk, janitor, car mechanic, and street cop"

          No.

          The entire Justice system that protects them... and perpetuates a fuckton of wrongdoing, including murder in the streets. The lying about policies is a bird on the iceberg.

          But yes, if we're going to play extremes, Anonymous Coward every clerk, janitor, car mechanic, and ordinary guard involved in the German Holocaust were hunted down and prosecuted. Those few remaining still alive and at large still are.

          And the LAPD has not been either kind nor gentle. If you're associated with them, it's a good idea to quit now and take up gardening.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TasMot (profile), 4 Dec 2020 @ 5:45am

    More Unverified Claims...

    And Clearview has been highly irresponsible in its marketing and distribution of its tech, making unverified claims...

    Any chance Pres. Trump is invested in Clearview? Then the trail of unverified claims would make sense....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bill Silverstein (profile), 4 Dec 2020 @ 8:56am

    What is the problem with facial recognition?

    I don't see the problem with facial recognition, if used correctly. Sure, it is not perfect, but properly it can be used to narrow the field.

    If you need perfection for the officer/detective to actually look at the picture/video of the crime and the photo(s) of suspects, then this eliminates line-ups, show-ups, 6-packs, sketches, and eye-witnesses because they are not perfect either.
    In the case of Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, where it was clear he did not look like the photo, it is the police who did not bother getting his DMV photo or prior booking photos (if there was one available) and using their eyes to see if there was a match. If there was a match, then when they see him in person, see if there is a match.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 4 Dec 2020 @ 1:22pm

    What could bypass this?

    Is to Goto Local stores and setup Camera on The company property, as Loss prevention and vandalism.
    REALLY.
    HELP those that have security system and UPDATE some of it, so you can get REAL pictures not CRAP. WOW, you could even connect the shop to a internet connection and monitor TONS more then they do.

    (sorry I had to give them a hint)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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