Staten Island District Attorney Used Forfeiture Funds To Secretly Purchase Clearview AI Access

from the just-pretend-you happen to be-not-being-shitty dept

There are various good reasons regulation enforcement organizations would acquire care not to associate on their own with Clearview.

Initial off, Clearview is the NSO Group of the facial recognition tech globe. Its steps — which start with scraping facts from any publicly accessible web page and end with promoting its merchandise to whoever expresses an curiosity — have made it a pariah in a area seriously populated by providers with malfunctioning moral compasses.

2nd, Clearview has normally overstated — if not truly lied about — its capability to support cops address crimes. Many of its general public statements and advertising and marketing pitches have been immediately contradicted by the law enforcement organizations talked about in these promises.

3rd, Clearview is going through tons of legal motion — not only in the United States, but overseas wherever privacy laws are significantly stricter. Regulation enforcement businesses are generally unwilling to get in mattress with international scofflaws… at the very least not publicly.

All of that describes why a district attorney’s office in New York Metropolis resolved the finest way to buy entry to this tech was to obtain it with off-the-guides money, as Sam Biddle reports for The Intercept.

Public information turned about to the Lawful Assist Society in reaction to its ask for for information about how the Staten Island DA’s business paid out for Clearview incorporated a doc titled “Guide to Equitable Sharing for Condition, Area, and Tribal Legislation Enforcement Agencies,” which outlines the plan and how point out entities can make use of it. In a letter sent to the Legal Assist Culture and shared with The Intercept, the DA’s business office confirmed that federal forfeiture proceeds had compensated for its Clearview license.

The Staten Island DA’s determination to develop into aspect of the Clearview crew was initially noted by Gothamist early final calendar year. This buy — which experienced nonetheless to be linked to very easily abused forfeiture cash — created this DA’s place of work an anomaly.

In New York Town, the DA’s acquisition of the technology seems to be an outlier. In response to Gothamist’s inquiries, representatives for the District Attorneys of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens verified that their workplaces do not have Clearview AI’s application.

And rightly so. No self-respecting legislation enforcement company ought to decide on to do enterprise with a corporation whose collection and storage solutions run in unsettled legislation and open not only Clearview, but also its buyers, to probably damaging litigation.

The use of forfeiture resources made it doable for the Staten Island DA’s office to protected use of this controversial product or service without the need of alerting its oversight — or the basic general public that pays its bills — to this acquisition. A person of the a lot of, several issues inherent to asset forfeiture is its means to deliver discretionary cash to federal government organizations that can be put in devoid of alerting oversight and/or opening up these proposed purchases to evaluation by taxpayers and their speedy representation.

That this place of work chose to go this route displays it recognized how problematic its acquisition was. If it actually believed Clearview was the best software for the position, it would have engaged in this obtain additional transparently.

Filed Below: civil asset forfeiture, facial recognition, staten island, surveillance

Organizations: clearview, clearview ai