NYPD Uses Facial Recognition App Against Their Own Cops To Identify Police Officers Drinking Before Their Partner’s Funeral
NYPD used facial recognition app against its own agents to identify police caught drinking on their way to murdered colleague’s funeral
- The NYPD’s chief of internal affairs ordered controversial facial recognition to be used to identify police officers who drank before a murdered colleague’s funeral
- Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick’s decision to change the Clearview AI app on his own men emerged in a 235-page wealth of internal documents
- The documents show a close relationship between NYPD agents and the founder of the Clearview AI app, Hoan Ton-That
- The NY Post reported that Reznick’s warrant led to the suspension of two police officers caught drinking on a train to Detective Brian Simonsen’s funeral in February 2019.
Two New York agents were reportedly suspended after being photographed drunk on a train en route to a murdered colleague’s funeral and later identified by controversial facial recognition software.
Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick, the head of the NYPD’s Internal Affairs unit, allegedly ordered officers to use the Clearview AI app to choose a detective and a sergeant who were caught drinking on their way to a memorial service for Detective Brian Simonsen in February 2019..
The New York Post reported that the two officers had been photographed traveling on the Long Island Railroad to Simonsen’s funeral, and suspended for drunk in uniform.
Using facial recognition software against one of their own agents is included in one 235-page wealth of internal NYPD documents obtained by the Legal Aid Society, a non-profit organization.
It shows that the NYPD had face-to-face meetings and received customer support directly from Clearview AI founder Hoan Ton-That while trying to convince the police with a free trial of the software.
The NYPD has since said it has stopped using Clearview AI due to security vulnerabilities.
Two NYPD agents, a detective and a sergeant, were identified using facial recognition software and later suspended for drinking on the way to a murdered colleague’s funeral
Joseph Reznick, the head of the NYPD’s internal affairs office, ordered the use of Clearwater AI facial recognition software to track down the two officers who were drinking on a train
The officers had been on a trip to the funeral service for Detective Brian Simonsen, who was killed in a robbery in Queens on what should have been his day off.
In an email released by the NYPD as part of a lawsuit over the Freedom of Information Act, an Home Office detective Alfredo Torres writes to Deputy Superintendent Michael King of the Joint Terrorism Task Force with the photo of the men on board the train.
“According to Commissioner Reznick, you can identify the members of the service in the photo,” Torres wrote.
The images attached to the email show what looks like photos secretly taken by another agent. Their faces are darkened.
Simonsen was hailed as a hero after being killed by his own fire when he responded to a robbery in Queens. He had been working, even though it was his day off.
The Clearview AI software works by comparing a photo to a database of billions of images it scraped from websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Venmo.
The New York Post reported that as a result of the use of the recognition software, the two officers were suspended.
The case in internal emails obtained through a freedom of information lawsuit over the NYPD’s use of the Clearview app.
The Clearview app was once used by more than 600 law enforcement agencies. The NYPD said it stopped using the app in 2019 due to security concerns
Jonathan McCoy of the Legal Aid Society’s digital forensics division told the paper that without their lawsuit, the public would never have known the extent of the NYPD’s use of the software.
A NYPD spokeswoman told the Post that using facial recognition apps to identify its own agents was not prohibited “simply because Clearview AI did not exist at the time our facial recognition practices were established.”
The NYPD was offered a free three-month trial of the Clearview AI app in 2018 in the hope that the country’s largest police force would contract with the company.
In 2020, the New York Times revealed that Clearview was the foundation of Hoan Ton-That, a young Australian ‘techie’, and used by 600 law enforcement agencies.
It also gained the backing of Peter Thiel, a prominent venture capitalist, an early investor in Facebook and a one-time supporter of Donald Trump.
The NYPD says it stopped using Clearview AI in March 2019 due to security concerns.
However, the documents obtained by the Legal Aid Society appear to demonstrate a close, friendly relationship between NYPD agents and Clearview founder Ton-That.
Dozens of agents signed up to use the app, even though they weren’t part of the official process.
The newly released documents also show that agents continued to use the app until February 2020.