OPP admit using controversial facial recognition software Cl

If the drift of Canada towards a police state has not yet affected you directly, you would do well to recall the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, writing in Germany before his arrest in the 1930s: "The Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I was a Protestant, so I didn't speak up....by that time there was nobody left to speak up for anyone."

OPP admit using controversial facial recognition software Cl

Postby Thomas » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:14 pm

OPP admit using controversial facial recognition software Clearview AI

The Ontario Provincial Police have confirmed Sunday that their officers have used Clearview AI, becoming the latest police service to acknowledge the use of the controversial facial recognition technology.

In a news release, the OPP said officers from four special areas have been using a free trial of the online software since December 2019.

Clearview AI has been under scrutiny for collecting billions of public images from the Internet to build a proprietary image search tool, which it sells to law enforcement.

The OPP said the software was primarily used for victim identification by members from the Child Sexual Exploitation Unit, Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, Digital Forensics Unit and Cyber Crime Investigations.

"In one instance, Clearview AI assisted with the identification of victims; following further investigation, a suspect was identified and charged with child pornography-related offences," provincial police said in a news release.

The OPP said they immediately ordered to stop the use of the software after learning that some members have been testing it.

The announcement comes days after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police acknowledged that they, too, have been using Clearview AI.

The RCMP said it had used the software in 15 cases, resulting in the identification and successful rescue of two children.

"The Internet has changed the way child sexual exploitation offences are committed, investigated and prosecuted, and Clearview AI is only one of many tools/techniques that are used in the identification of victims of online child sexual abuse," the mounties said in a release

Toronto police and other GTA police services have also confirmed earlier last month that they previously tested the software.

Clearview AI became the subject of a New York Times report in January, revealing that more than 600 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as a handful of financial companies, have been using the software.

In another report from Buzzfeed News, Canada is Clearview's largest market outside of the U.S. The story said more than 30 law enforcement agencies in the country have access to the software.

Last week, The Daily Beast reported that the company suffered a data breach and that an intruder had gained unauthorized access to its client list.

"Security is Clearview's top priority. Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw and continue to work to strengthen our security," the company's lawyer said in a statement to CTV News Toronto.

The OPP said "there is no compromise or risk to the OPP network or infrastructure as a result of this breach."

The provincial police service said they are engaged with Ontario's privacy watchdog and will report future use of any facial recognition technologies.

Ontario's privacy commissioner Brian Beamish had said it is collaborating with all its federal and provincial counterparts "to develop guidance on the use of emerging biometric technologies, including facial recognition, by the private sector or public sector organizations."

Canadian privacy officials have launched an investigation into the use of Clearview AI software in the wake of recent media reports.

Privacy officials said the reports had "raised questions and concerns about whether the company is collecting and using personal information without consent."

https://www.cp24.com/news/opp-admit-usi ... -1.4834032
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OPP confirms use of controversial facial recognition tool Cl

Postby Thomas » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:15 pm

OPP confirms use of controversial facial recognition tool Clearview AI

Four specialized units of the Ontario Provincial Police have been using a divisive facial recognition tool since December, the force confirmed Sunday.

The OPP — one of the largest police services in North America — previously said it used facial recognition technology, but refused to confirm whether it used Clearview AI.

The U.S. startup relies on artificial intelligence to match people’s images against what it claims is a database of billions of photos scraped from the internet, including social media. Canadian privacy regulators have launched three separate investigations into the software, which critics have called “reckless” and “dystopian.”

The Star asked the OPP twice in February for comment on whether it used Clearview AI; both times a spokesperson declined to specify details. After the Star’s inquiries, the OPP launched an internal review to determine if officers had used the tool, according to a statement released Sunday.

The force says members of its child sexual exploitation, cyber-crime, anti-human trafficking and digital forensics units had been using free trial versions of the software. According to the statement, in one instance the tool helped identify victims, and that further investigation led to a suspect being identified and charged with child pornography-related offences.

According to the statement, OPP officers obtained access to a free trial of Clearview after attending a conference, “and not through the normal evaluation process relied upon by the OPP for the introduction of new software.”

After discovering that officers were using the tool, the OPP “ordered immediate cessation of testing and use of Clearview AI.” The force says it has reached out to the office of Ontario’s privacy commissioner and will be reporting its use of Clearview AI and “any other facial recognition technologies.”

In the past week, more than a dozen Canadian police services confirmed to the Star that their officers had used trial versions of Clearview AI without the knowledge or authorization of police leadership. All had previously told the Star their forces hadn’t tested the tool, and have since ordered their officers to halt all use.

All five police services in the Greater Toronto Area — Toronto and Durham, York, Halton and Peel regions — have confirmed their officers used trial versions of the tool. All have ordered that the testing cease, pending a review by Ontario’s privacy commissioner.

The Ottawa Police Service announced Friday it was launching a service-wide poll to determine exactly how many officers had signed up for a trial of the tool, after discovering that officers from the force’s Internet Child Exploitation Unit had created accounts. Edmonton police have also launched an internal review after determining that three investigators had used the technology after learning about it at a conference.

Revelations showing cross-Canada testing of Clearview AI were prompted by data obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared exclusively with the Toronto Star. Canada is Clearview’s largest market outside of the U.S., according to the data.

Clearview AI has not responded to repeated requests from the Star. Earlier this week, a Clearview AI lawyer told other media that someone got unauthorized access to the company’s client list through a “data breach.”

“Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw and continue to work to strengthen our security,” Tor Ekeland told other media this week.

Ekeland told BuzzFeed News that there are “numerous inaccuracies in this illegally obtained information. As there is an ongoing Federal investigation, we have no further comment.”

Federal and provincial privacy regulators launched a joint investigation in Clearview AI and whether its collection and disclosure of personal information violates privacy laws earlier in February.

Last week, Canada’s privacy commissioner announced an investigation into the RCMP use of the tool, and Alberta’s privacy commissioner lambasted Edmonton’s police as she launched a similar inquiry.

“Only after a data breach affected Clearview AI’s client list did we find out that, in fact, certain Edmonton Police Service employees had used Clearview AI’s product,” Commissioner Jill Clayton said in a statement Friday.

“This situation serves as a wake-up call to law enforcement in Alberta that building trust is critical to advancing the use of new technologies for data-driven policing.”

The Star has also confirmed that an employee of Rexall used the software to conduct shoplifting-related searches; the pharmacy chain has since stopped using the app.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command confirmed it used a free trial version of Clearview AI but does not have a contract with Clearview AI.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/202 ... ew-ai.html
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