Police conducted a trial of controversial facial recognition software without consulting their own bosses or the Privacy Commissioner
By Mackenzie Smith of rnz.co.nz
The American firm Clearview AI’s system, which is used by hundreds of police departments in the United States and several other countries, is effectively a search engine for faces – billing itself as a crime-fighting tool to identify perpetrators and victims.
New Zealand Police first contacted the firm in January, and later set up a trial of the software, according to documents RNZ obtained under the Official Information Act.
However, the high tech crime unit handling the technology appears to have not sought the necessary clearance before using it.
Privacy Commissioner John Edwards, who was not aware police had trialled Clearview Al when RNZ contacted him, said he would expect to be briefed on it before a trial was underway. He said Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told him he was also unaware of the trial.
“He’s concerned it was able to happen without a high-level sign-off, and [the] involvement of my office,” Edwards said, following a phone conversation with Coster on Tuesday. “They will be looking at protocols, how they do evaluate new technologies.”
Police declined to be interviewed, and would not address the record of Coster’s remarks…READ MORE