The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office have banned the use of Clearview AI within their offices. However, both organizations admitted that they did not do so until after they had taken advantage of the free trials that Clearview offered to law enforcement agencies and other parties.
The SDPD banned the use of Clearview AI in a memo that was sent out to the department on February 19, roughly a month after a New York Times exposé brought the company’s activities to light.
Both the SDPD and the DA’s Office said that they tested Clearview in order to assess the utility of the technology. A pair of SDPD detectives used it during some of their financial crimes investigations. Eight members of the DA’s Office also trialed the app, though spokesperson Steve Walker stressed that those cases did not result in any charges, and indicated that the DA has since placed a moratorium on free trials.
“Investigators in our office have been informed they are not to participate in free trials of any kind without authorization,” said Walker.
California recently banned the use of facial recognition on footage captured with police body cameras. Even so, San Diego law enforcement officers can still apply the tech to images obtained through other sources, such as mounted surveillance cameras.
The latest news makes the SDPD the latest law enforcement agency to acknowledge its use of Clearview AI since the company’s client list leaked in February. The Waterloo Regional Police Service has suspended its use of the technology, though The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have indicated that they will continue to use Clearview in some circumstances.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune
March 17, 2020 – by Eric Weiss