Raleigh, N.C., police have stopped using a facial recognition app to identify potential criminals through the internet, cutting ties with a company that has drawn widespread privacy concerns, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. In August, the department paid $2,500 to Clearview AI for one year’s access to its app, which collects pictures from Facebook, YouTube and other public sites, said spokeswoman Donna-maria Harris. Only three employees were allowed to access the app and their searches were limited to finding victims of human trafficking or other major crimes when no other leads existed. Results of their searches were verified through other sources.
Harris said the police department tried to find out how Clearview AI had used its system in the past but did not get a satisfactory answer. The department will review its facial recognition technology policy. Earlier, the New York Times reported that the small start-up company had sent its technology to more than 600 law enforcement agencies, but the list was not disclosed. In Raleigh, Harris said the police policy on facial recognition was written in 2015, predating Clearview AI, and “there is always a need to review policies as law and technology evolve. Facial recognition software is no exception.”