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State govt funds research on police facial recognition use, county contracts Clearview

And a lawsuit is partially dismissed
State govt funds research on police facial recognition use, county contracts Clearview

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is setting up a research project and classes to analyze data about how law enforcement agencies across the state use facial recognition with funding from a new grant.

The $327,000 grant reported by local ABC affiliate WMDT is from the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and earmarked for “Facial Recognition and AI Tools in Criminal Justice — Building Accountability and Trust,” UMES Associate Professor Lily Chi-Fang Tsai told Biometric Update in an email. Tsai is co-principal investigator on the project, along with Dr. Sandeep Gopalan.

Gopalan notes instances of people of color being misidentified with facial recognition, a pattern that recently prompted a U.S. Senator to write to Clearview AI, which was used in one instance, with questions about algorithm training and demographic data for client searches.

“The project aims to build systematic knowledge about the use of facial recognition tools by law enforcement agencies, bolster public trust, establish guidelines for accountability, provide training for police officers, and develop law reform proposals,” Tsai writes. “We are on track to establish a partnership between a technology company, law enforcement, and an HBCU to enhance practices and boost public trust. We also anticipate offering an online course to law enforcement personnel, a Citizens’ Police Academy, and an AI accountability board to make a major contribution to innovation, research, professional development, and democratic oversight.”

County wins partial dismissal of lawsuit

In some states, such as Minnesota, facial recognition is provided by one local law enforcement agency to those in other counties.

A lawsuit against the City of Bloomington and Hennepin County, Minnesota will be allowed to proceed with a false arrest tort claim, but motions to force the county to stop using facial recognition and others, including civil conspiracy allegations, were dismissed.

Minnesota Lawyer reports that Kylese Perryman, a Black man arrested following misidentification with facial recognition and held in jail for five days, was seeking $250,000. He alleged that a detective, who was also named in the suit, was improperly trained, leading to a violation of Perryman’s constitutional rights. A district court judge ruled against all claims except the false arrest tort, but also rejected a claim of vicarious immunity from the county.

Hennepin County was using facial recognition technology from Cognitec, at least as of 2020. Since then, Minneapolis passed legislation to stop city police from using Hennepin’s system.

More municipal contracts

As the academic investigation starts up and Minnesota’s system had its day in court, a request from the Sheriff’s Office in Hays County, Texas to contract facial recognition services from Clearview AI has been approved by county commissioners.

The three year contract is for $6,495 over three years, for a $19,485 total.

The Sheriff’s Office in Benton County, Washington is considering a similar contract with Clearview AI, local NBC affiliate NonStop Local reports.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BSCO) specifies that a specific reason and case number must accompany each search, and the results reviewed before any arrest is made.

BSCO is planning three public consultations to address community privacy concerns., after which it will release an accountability report for a 90-day public comment period.

NonStop Local reports that if approved, it would be Clearview’s first contract with a local law enforcement agency in the state.

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