New Jersey Bars Police From Using Clearview Facial Recognition App

New Jersey law enforcement officials at the moment are barred from utilizing a facial recognition app made by a start-up that has licensed its groundbreaking know-how to lots of of regulation enforcement companies across the nation.

Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey’s lawyer normal, instructed state prosecutors in all 21 counties on Friday that law enforcement officials ought to cease utilizing the Clearview AI app.

The New York Times reported final week that Clearview had amassed a database of greater than three billion pictures throughout the online — together with websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Venmo. The huge database powers an app that may match individuals to their on-line pictures and hyperlink again to the websites the pictures got here from.

“Until this week, I had not heard of Clearview AI,” Mr. Grewal stated in an interview. “I was troubled. The reporting raised questions about data privacy, about cybersecurity, about law enforcement security, about the integrity of our investigations.”

His order to prosecutors was reported earlier by NJ.com.

In a promotional video posted to its web site this week, Clearview included photos of Mr. Grewal as a result of the corporate stated its app had performed a task final yr in Operation Open Door, a New Jersey police sting that led to the arrest of 19 individuals accused of being baby predators.

“I was surprised they used my image and the office to promote the product online,” stated Mr. Grewal, who confirmed that Clearview’s app had been used to determine one of many individuals within the sting. “I was troubled they were sharing information about ongoing criminal prosecutions.”

Mr. Grewal’s workplace despatched Clearview a cease-and-desist letter that requested the corporate to cease utilizing the workplace and its investigations to advertise its merchandise.

“We’ve received the attorney general’s letter and are complying,” stated Tor Ekeland, Clearview’s lawyer. “The video has been removed.”

The video additionally included a declare that the New York Police Department had used Clearview’s app to determine a person who was accused of planting rice cookers made to resemble bombs across the metropolis. As reported by BuzzFeed, the Police Department stated the app had performed no position within the case.

“There is no institutional relationship between the N.Y.P.D. and Clearview,” stated Devora Kaye, a spokeswoman for the division. “The N.Y.P.D. did not rely on Clearview technology to identify the suspect in the Aug. 16 rice cooker incident. The N.Y.P.D. identified the suspect using the department’s facial recognition practice, where a still image from a surveillance video was compared to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos.”

Some officers within the Police Department are stated to be utilizing the Clearview app with out official authorization, The New York Post reported on Thursday.

In addition to putting a moratorium on the Clearview app, the New Jersey lawyer normal’s workplace has requested the state’s Division of Criminal Justice to look into how state regulation enforcement companies have used the app. Mr. Grewal needs to know which of them are utilizing “this product or products like it,” and what info these firms are monitoring about police investigations and searches.

An earlier episode by which law enforcement officials obtained calls from the corporate after importing a photograph of a Times reporter to the app indicated that Clearview has the flexibility to watch whom regulation enforcement is trying to find.

Mr. Grewal stated that his workplace wouldn’t should preapprove use of a instrument like Clearview AI by the police, however that perhaps it ought to. His workplace evaluations, for instance, new types of less-than-lethal ammunition to make it possible for it’s a “safe tool to have out there.”

“I’m not categorically opposed to using any of these types of tools or technologies that make it easier for us to solve crimes, and to catch child predators or other dangerous criminals,” Mr. Grewal stated. “But we need to have a full understanding of what is happening here and ensure there are appropriate safeguards.”

This week, Clearview also received questions from United States senators, in addition to a letter from Twitter demanding that the start-up cease scraping pictures from its web site.

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