The Metropolitan Police have been found to be using the services of the controversial US-based facial recognition company Clearview AI.
In a data breach of Clearview AI’s client list, the Met Police were found to have made more than 170 searches in Clearview AI’s logs, according to BuzzFeed News.
The Met had not publicly admitted it used the services of Clearview AI prior to the data leak.
Additionally, in a Freedom of Information request submitted by Metro.co.uk last month, the Met Police responded ‘No’ when asked if the Met ‘uses the services of Clearview AI.’
Scotland Yard has been contacted for comment.
Clearview AI’s database consists of billions of images, some illegally obtained by scraping social media databases.
Several companies have heavily criticised Clearview AI, including cease and desist letters from Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, while Facebook have demanded the company ‘stop accessing or using information from Facebook or Instagram.’
Clearview AI claims it can identify people by their names, location and other personal information by uploading facial pictures to their vast database and using advanced artificial intelligence.
Scotland Yard had previously announced trials of live facial recognition (LFR) on the public last month, as well as supplying images for a facial recognition database used at King’s Cross.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick had previously attacked critics’ concerns as ‘inaccurate’ with regard to live facial recognition technology, despite an independent review finding 81% of matches were false alarms.
But the revelation of The Met’s use of Clearview AI’s databases marks a departure from LFR, and raises new questions around the use of facial recognition technology, including accountability and legality.
Silkie Carlo, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said that ‘the use of facial recognition on billions of photos will end anonymity as we know it.’
‘The photos we’ve shared on social media platforms are being subverted into giant law enforcement and immigration databases,’ Carlo said.
‘This technology has a serious, irreversible impact on all of our rights. The situation in the UK is wildly out of control.’
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