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LAPD prohibits use of third-party face biometric software



The Los Angeles Police Department will cease its use of and access to facial recognition software Clearview AI, reports Buzzfeed.

The new policy follows reports earlier this year that the New York Police Department had run over 11,000 searches on Clearview’s biometric database, leading to criticism.

Assistant chief Horace Frank at the LAPD is quoted by Buzzfeed saying “we put out a notice directing employees that they can’t use third-party software.”

The department is restricting its facial recognition use to the Los Angeles County Regional Identification System (LACRIS), which consists of 8,275,000 photos local to the county, and runs on Dataworks Plus software.

Only 325 officers, out of the LA’s approximately 10,000, are authorized to use LACRIS. Though claiming the department is not using the system on a regular basis, reports showed access figures to be above 30,000 within the past decade, Buzzfeed reports.

Figures originally released to the Los Angeles Times show that 475 Clearview AI searches had been performed by over 25 police officers in the LAPD between the end of 2019 and March of this year. Clearview is estimated to have a database of billions of facial images collected from social media sites among others.

Further afield, Clearview has been used by employees at over 2,200 law enforcement departments, government agencies and private companies in 27 countries, on a free-trial basis. Clearview had also granted database access to political allies, republican lawmakers, and gulf states. Hoan Ton-That, the CEO of Clearview, disclosed that over 2,400 police agencies have used the database, and the company now prohibits access to non-law enforcement entities.

Both the LAPD and the NYPD are in the process of updating their facial recognition policies to clarify the matter.

YouTube, meanwhile, has added “faces” to the data that explicitly cannot be collected from the platform under updated terms of service, explicitly blocking the scraping of face biometric data.

“YouTube has never allowed the collection of personally identifiable information (including data that can be used for facial recognition) under previous versions of our Terms of Service, but we want to specifically include language around facial data to be even more clear. We take user privacy seriously and want you to feel confident that your data is never being misused,” the company said in a note on the changes.

Google also announced a change in details about the way content in monetized.

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