Legal Aid Society calls NYPD use of facial recognition technology ‘unreliable’

The Legal Aid Society has released documents shedding light on the NYPD’s use of a controversial facial technology – Clearview AI.

The Legal Aid Society disclosed documents made available in a public records request, showing email exchanges from the NYPD and Clearview AI from late 2018 to early 2020.

Clearview AI, a controversial software providing law enforcement agencies with a research tool, uses a database of more than three billion facial images scraped from social media to mugshot websites.

Jonathan McCoy, of the Legal Aid Society, says it’s sketchy that this service was entertained.

“It’s our belief that facial recognition technology right now is too unreliable, to serve as a basis for either generating investigative leads by the police, or use any judicial proceeding,” said McCoy.

The issue has left many advocacy groups calling on lawmakers to ban the government’s use of facial recognition technology on New Yorkers.

In obtained records, members of the NYPD had access to the software by phone. In an email, a member of the department praised the application used on current investigations.

McCoy says facial recognition technology is flawed and hopes law enforcement agencies can solve cases using other methods.