Dutch police likely used controversial facial recognition software despite minister’s denial: Report
A leaked software log from the debated facial recognition software Clearview AI showed that Dutch police officers used the program to identify suspects, the Reformatorisch Dagblad reported. In April 2020, Minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus denied that Dutch authorities used the software. The use of the software is likely in conflict with privacy guidelines.
Some of the pictures used by Clearview AI were gathered without the permission of their owners, sourced in many cases from private Facebook and Twitter accounts. Additionally, the software has been known to incorrectly identify suspects.
A 2020 report by Buzzfeed News showed that over two thousand governmental agencies used the services of Clearview AI.
The police “have not been approached centrally by Clearview, are not aware of any contacts with that company and have not purchased any products”, Grapperhaus stated in 2020 in response to questions posed by GroenLinks MP Kathalijne Buitenweg.
Yet, based on Clearview AI logs the Dutch police used the software between 50 to 100 times between 2018 and 2020, the Reformatorisch Dagblad reported. An investigation earlier this year did not show any information about their use of Clearview AI.
It is not likely that the use of the software technology by Dutch authorities is legal, the Dutch Data Protection Authority stated in reaction to the Buzzfeed article.
CATCH is the facial recognition software used by Dutch police. In March 2021, it was revealed that thousands of pictures were improperly stored in the database. The photos on the CATCH system largely come from another database of suspects and convicts. Once someone is acquitted the photos must be removed.
Reports by NU.nl showed that the pictures were not always duly removed. Over 200 thousand pictures were removed from the platform in July.