Toronto police officers used controversial Clearview AI technology

Toronto police confirmed Thursday some of their officers were using Clearview AI, a powerful and controversial artificial intelligence tool that scrapes data from billions of images from the internet.

Police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said in an email that some members began using the technology in October 2019.

Chief Mark Saunders directed those officers to stop using the technology when he became aware of its use on Feb. 5, she said.

Clearview AI has the capacity to turn up search results, including a person’s name and other information such as their phone number, address or occupation, based on nothing more than a photo. The program is not available for public use.

Gray said officers were “informally testing this new and evolving technology.” 

In January, police told CBC News they used facial recognition, but denied using Clearview AI.

It’s unclear if Toronto police have made any arrests based on information generated by the app. 

More to come.