Speed Read

Canada Orders Facial Recognition App To Cease And Desist (Mind Matters, Apr 29, 2021)
In February, Canada released the findings of a year-long investigation into the US-based facial recognition app, Clearview AI. The investigation declared Clearview’s actions illegal within Canada and ordered the company to cease operations within the country and to remove all Canadian citizens from its database. “What Clearview does is mass surveillance, and it is illegal,” said Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien. So what is Clearview AI? And why has it raised the ire of our neighbors to the North?

Coalition Of Groups Calls For End To Facial Recognition Program Used To Identify Protester At Lafayette Square (Washington Post, Apr 29, 2021)
A group of technology, civil rights and legal groups is calling for an end to a facial recognition system used by authorities in the Washington region that helped identify a demonstrator accused of assaulting a police officer during the forceful clearance of protesters from Lafayette Square last summer. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition and 22 other groups say the public hasn’t been given a meaningful chance to weigh in on the system and that research has shown such software often has greater error rates in identifying minorities than in identifying White men.

Russia: Police Target Peaceful Protesters Identified Using Facial Recognition Technology (Amnesty, Apr 29, 2021)
Responding to the news that Moscow police have detained several activists and journalists identified using facial recognition technology as attendees of the peaceful rally in support of Aleksei Navalny on 21 April, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: “This is a new and extremely disturbing turn of events. Never before have the police been able to cast their net so widely to identify and target peaceful protesters using facial recognition technology. The police detained not only those who had joined the protests but also at least three journalists who were simply reporting on the rally.

Face Recognition Is Far from the Sci-Fi Super-Tool Its Sellers Claim (POGO, Apr 29, 2021)
Last week a bombshell BuzzFeed News investigation revealed that face recognition software produced by Clearview AI is being used by law enforcement far more often than previously known by the public, underscoring the immediate need for laws to check the virtually unregulated use of this invasive surveillance tool. Clearview AI is already controversial for building its systems around scraping billions of photos from social media sites. The BuzzFeed report focused on Clearview AI’s practice of handing out free trial accounts to officers, which has led to police using face recognition without agencies developing guidelines for its use, and sometimes without departments knowing that officers were using it in investigations.

Facial Recognition Should Be Banned, EU Privacy Watchdog Says (KFGO, Apr 29, 2021)
Facial recognition should be banned in Europe because of its “deep and non-democratic intrusion” into people’s private lives, EU privacy watchdog the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) said on Friday. The comments come two days after the European Commission proposed draft rules that would allow facial recognition to be used to search for missing children or criminals and in cases of terrorist attacks.

Humane Society Of Southern Wisconsin Partners On Facial Recognition Database For Lost Pets (Gazette Extra, Apr 29, 2021)
n Rock County, you now might be able to find your lost dog or cat through a national network that uses facial recognition technology to help canvass for pets using photos. The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin announced it has launched a partnership with Petco Love, retailer Petco’s charitable foundation, on Petco Love Lost, a new database the organizations say uses animal facial recognition software to match photos of lost and found pets. The new database, which is free, went live last week. Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin Development Director Kaitie Swedlund said the partnership is so new that the local humane society has not yet had any connections with owners of any lost dogs or cats being kept at the Janesville shelter.

Virginia Law Bans Local Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology (National Law Review , Apr 29, 2021)
The state of Virginia recently enacted a law banning local law enforcement and campus police departments from using facial recognition technology. Facial recognition technology is defined as an “electronic system for enrolling, capturing, extracting, comparing, and matching an individual’s geometric facial data to identify individuals in photos, videos, or real time.” The law states that no local law enforcement agency shall purchase or deploy facial recognition technology unless such purchase or deployment of such technology is expressly authorized by statute.

The New Lawsuit That Shows Facial Recognition Is Officially A Civil Rights Issue (Technology Review, Apr 29, 2021)
On January 9, 2020, Detroit police drove to the suburb of Farmington Hill and arrested Robert Williams in his driveway while his wife and young daughters looked on. Williams, a Black man, was accused of stealing watches from Shinola, a luxury store. He was held overnight in jail. During questioning, an officer showed Williams a picture of a suspect. His response, as he told the ACLU, was to reject the claim. “This is not me,” he told the officer. “I hope y’all don’t think all black people look alike.” He says the officer replied: “The computer says it’s you.”


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