Why on earth are the NZ Police trialling mass surveillance face recognition tech without any clearance?


What on earth is going on?

Police trials facial recognition tech without clearance

Police conducted a trial of controversial facial recognition software without consulting their own bosses or the Privacy Commissioner.

The American firm Clearview AI’s system, which is used by hundreds of police departments in the United States and several other countries, is effectively a search engine for faces – billing itself as a crime-fighting tool to identify perpetrators and victims.

New Zealand Police first contacted the firm in January, and later set up a trial of the software, according to documents RNZ obtained under the Official Information Act. However, the high tech crime unit handling the technology appears to have not sought the necessary clearance before using it.

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Privacy Commissioner John Edwards, who was not aware police had trialled Clearview Al when RNZ contacted him, said he would expect to be briefed on it before a trial was underway. He said Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told him he was also unaware of the trial.

“He’s concerned it was able to happen without a high-level sign-off, and [the] involvement of my office,” Edwards said, following a phone conversation with Coster on Tuesday. “They will be looking at protocols, how they do evaluate new technologies.”

Let me get this completely straight. The NZ Police trialled a mass surveillance face recognition software from a company that illegally harvests faces from social media WITHOUT informing the Privacy Commissioner or even their own Police Commissioner?

This is such an egregious breach of good faith I’m not sure how anyone in a  management position who signed off on this can’t be sacked!

Clearview Al, whose early financial backers include New Zealand citizen Peter Thiel, has built a database of about 2.8 billion faces by lifting users’ images from social media sites like Facebook, a practice that violates most of these companies’ terms of service.

Using mass surveillance technology from a company with questionable ethics that breach the current law and then lying multiple times to the media when they were investigating the NZ Police use of this…

Prior to the statement from Fitzgerald, police spokespeople told RNZ on two separate occasions in the past week – on 7 and 11 May – that the trial was still underway. A spokesperson later said these statements were incorrect.

…isn’t just a mistake.

As someone who has had their civil rights breached by the Police and had to fight them through the Court, I know a cop lie when I smell one.

Why are the NZ Police branching out on these types of technologies without total agreement from the top brass and the appropriate Civil Liberty watchdogs?

If the top brass had no idea of this, what else don’t they know? How many other mass surveillance programs are the Police trying out that they’ve ‘forgotten’ to tell their bosses about?

It is outrageous that the NZ Police are secretly testing out these types of technologies without any agreement whatsoever from the civilian Government.

Who does the NZ Police answer to? The NZ Parliament or more chillingly, themselves?

As we are currently in a medically induced Police State, finding out the are secretly pulling stunts like this makes me very skeptical of their supposed good will.

This is what secret police who breach civil liberties do, this isn’t the actions of a police force protecting civilians.

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  1. Don’t worry. If there is found to be a problem in terms of a breach of the law or guidelines, legislation will be swiftly introduced to parliament to retrospectively make everything all right. That’s what we do. To do anything else would reek of holding the police to account.

  2. Un fkn believable, heard this on rnz nat yesterday. Let us not forget that this has surfaced just as parliament is about to give the biggest gang in the country unbelievable powers of search and seizure (ostensibly to combat covid 19.)
    But hey Martyn nothing to worry about, if you are not doing anything wrong you have noooooothing to fear?????

    • They already have warrant-less search powers. They only need to sight National Security Legislation .. and .. THEY’RE IN !! .. lmfa0

      Legalize cannabis ASAP aye

  3. It’s unfortunate that incompetent commanders would get caught out like this. It is indeed the mark of a truly competent leader commanding small numbers of men and woman to incorporate new technology and new tactics to make a smaller force into a more unpredictable force but Yknow being unpredictable is no good when every knows your tricks, fucken dumb arses.

  4. Your vaccine making the most progress is funded by US DOD (America department of defense) so why do you care? Yeah, keep being a parrot about vaccines. Shoot yourself up with the DOD who made the most monies, yeah, yum.

  5. I remember a statement from the new Commissioner of Police when he took over. He was talking about the COVID-19 lock-down levels. He said that he reminds himself that the Police, police by consent. Well, what a joke that has turned out to be. Say one thing that sounds all nice and cheesy and then his own staff carry on and trial this new equipment without telling anyone including their own bosses. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.

    Facial recognition surveillance; cops probably being able to enter houses without a search warrant to investigate if they are holding a gathering of more than ten people – even if they are all members of the same family and COVID-19 free; heavy handed tactics with an elderly couple taking a walk near their home while under Level 4; what next? And we are meant to believe that the Police police by consent – what a farcical joke.

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