The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is no longer using Clearview AI’s controversial facial recognition platform. The department had originally signed a two-year contract worth $49,875, but indicated that Clearview had terminated the contract (and issued a pro-rated refund) on May 1.
The news came shortly after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued Clearview for violating the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in Illinois. The company is already facing several other BIPA lawsuits, a fact that also helps to explain the end of its CPD contract. The company is hoping to stave off an injunction, and has suspended all private and public contracts in the state of Illinois until its legal issues can be resolved. However, Clearview is still fulfilling and pursuing law enforcement contracts in other areas of the country.
The ACLU lawsuit, meanwhile, specifically seeks to protect vulnerable populations that are likely to suffer the most harm from the widespread use of face-based surveillance. That includes survivors of sexual and domestic abuse, as well as undocumented immigrants.
“We can change our names and addresses to shield our whereabouts and identities from stalkers and abusive partners, but we can’t change our faces,” said Mallory Littlejohn, the Legal director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. “Clearview’s practices put survivors in constant fear of being tracked by those who seek to harm them, and are a threat to our security, safety, and well-being.”
The Alliance is a nonprofit that advocates for survivors of sexual violence, and is listed as a plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit. For its part, the ACLU described the creation of Clearview’s database as “the nightmare scenario privacy advocates long warned of,” adding that it “accomplished what many companies — such as Google — refused to try due to ethical concerns.”
The ACLU lawsuit was filed in conjunction with Edelson PC, which previously helped secure the landmark $550 settlement in the BIPA class action lawsuit against Facebook.
Source: Chicago Sun Times
May 29, 2020 – by Eric Weiss