Williams' Statement On The Staten Island District Attorney's Use Of Clearview Ai Facial Recognition

January 22nd, 2021

Press Release

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams released the following statement after it was revealed that Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon purchased and utilized Clearview AI facial recognition software.

"I was alarmed to learn that the Staten Island District Attorney's office has worked with Clearview AI beginning in May of 2019, and I am grateful that the Legal Aid Society helped to uncover the existence of this contract. That the District Attorneys' office deemed the pursuit of further transparency about this purchase to be an invasion of privacy is ironic, hypocritical, and unacceptable.

"Use of this kind of technology disproportionately targets and falsely condemns people of more color- It amounts to a more technologically advanced version of the same biased-based law enforcement we have battled for many years. District Attorney McMahon must immediately halt any usage of this tool, and District Attorneys across the five boroughs must commit to banning the use of this software in their own offices.  Facial recognition technology like Clearview AI has the capacity to be not a tool for public safety, but a threat to it."

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