UpdateBelgian Federal Police conducted searches between 101 and 500 times using facial recognition software Clearview AI, US news site Buzzfeed reported after the data breach. The controversial program violates European legislation on the General Data Protection Regulation. The Federal Police confirms that they did not use the software.
Buzzfeed – De Standard – Belgium
American Clearview AI (AI for Artificial Intelligence) searches through billions of images collected across publicly available social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Anyone who enters a photo of a suspicious person into the program will receive identification within seconds, although Clearview cannot guarantee a 100 percent reliable result.
How Clearview collects images from major social media channels is questionable. The German government’s specialized agency HmbBfDI, which is concerned with data protection, calls for the use of images in violation of the rules for use of Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. The social media giants themselves have repeatedly asked Clearview AI to remove the collected data from the database. The European Data Protection Regulation, which came into force five years ago, is also being violated.
Clearview contacted police forces, government departments, and legal institutions around the world and offered them a trial subscription. At the beginning of 2020, Buzzfeed was able to look into a list of the company’s users after the data breach, which showed that the software would also be used in Belgium by government agencies or police forces. The Federal Police and the Oversight of Police Information (COC) denied this at the time. However, the CTC said it could not be ruled out that “an individual police officer used the service himself or a beta version of it”.
Posted Thursday More detailed information Buzzfeed. In 24 countries outside the United States, government organizations and police departments are said to have used facial recognition software. One of those countries is Belgium. The Federal Police is said to have conducted between 101 and 500 searches using the system. Buzzfeed contacted all 88 institutions and received no response from the vast majority – including the Belgian Federal Police.
The Federal Police confirmed on Saturday that it is not using the software. Also, no new information has emerged from a survey with directors of different departments, says the spokesperson. Standard COC member Frank Scheuermanns told him that the investigation into this matter would be reopened with a new question for the Commissioner-General.
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