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Calgary police says it won't use social media in its facial recognition technology – Calgary Herald

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Keith Raderschadt from NEC Corporation of America gives a detailed explanation and demonstration of the new facial recognition software being implemented by the Calgary Police Service at their CPS Headquarters, Westwinds Campus Media Centre in Calgary, Alta. on Sunday November 2, 2014. Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency


Darren Makowichuk / Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/ Q

A Calgary police officer says using open-sourced data such as social media with facial recognition technology is “fraught with danger.”

The comments were made in reference to controversy surrounding the use by Canadian police forces of an American company’s facial recognition software that created a massive database of open-sourced images taken from platforms such as Facebook.

Staff Sgt. Gordon MacDonald, of the criminal identification section of the Calgary Police Service, said using such a database isn’t an option for the local service.

“At the moment, the Calgary Police Service has no intention of going near any facial recognition software that would utilize images we have no control over or we can’t verify,” said MacDonald.

“As clever as it sounds and advantageous, you always have to have the ethical perspective on things. When you don’t have ownership of these images, you don’t know who has posted them, how they’ve posted them.”

Calgary police currently use facial recognition software to compare photos and videos, such as CCTV images of persons of interest, with their mug shot database of more than 350,000 images taken under the Identification of Criminals Act. Potential matches are then reviewed by a trained facial recognition technician.

Questions regarding the use of facial recognition technology by Canadian police forces surfaced after a New York Times investigation into a company named Clearview AI.

The story detailed how the company created a large database of open-sourced images taken from platforms such as Facebook, which could be used by police to identify perpetrators and victims of crime. The New York Times investigation also reported that Clearview AI said Canadian forces were using the technology.

The story prompted questions by the Ottawa Citizen, which reported that RCMP would not answer if they used the Clearview AI technology. Similarly, the Ottawa Police Service would not specify the facial recognition software they used during a pilot that ended in March 2019.

Canada’s federal privacy watchdog has since launched an investigation into the Canadian use of facial recognition technology supplied by Clearview AI. It will be a joint investigation with provincial counterparts in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec to determine whether the organization’s practices comply with Canadian privacy laws.

“As an organization, we wouldn’t be interested in it no matter the benefits it purports to bring. It’s just so fundamentally and ethically unsafe to start using that as a means to obtain some form of identification,” said MacDonald.

“It’s far better to go through our own photographs that we’ve obtained and can verify who these people are.”

The Edmonton police force said this month it will implement similar facial recognition technology as Calgary’s to match suspects with known offenders. Edmonton’s program is expected to roll out later this year.

MacDonald hopes the two police forces can eventually link their programs to cross-reference known offenders from both major Alberta cities.

Calgary police were the first police agency in Canada to utilize facial recognition technology in 2014.

MacDonald said a year of research, review and evaluation of facial recognition tools resulted in a contract with the NEC Corporation of America to use the NeoFace Reveal software.

“There’s a demand for public safety that pushes the use of more AI stuff, but I think back then, in 2014, there was not enough public knowledge about facial recognition,” said MacDonald. “It was still a novelty.”

He said there are still some misconceptions from the public about the use of facial recognition software, but if it is used responsibly and ethically it has merit to save time and resources.

Calgary police have since upgraded to the NeoFace Reveal 2.0.

It is the most advanced version of NEC Corporation of America’s software in Canada and MacDonald said the upgrade has proved effective when compared to the previous model. For example, eight CCTV images the original system couldn’t search due to low quality yielded high-value matches in the upgraded system.

MacDonald said using facial recognition software has proven successful for the force, and helped solve some high-profile cases.

“Everyone is looking to solve crime quicker and faster, but you have to be cautious about how you go about that,” he said. “A system like this is really effective. I think this program is a great way for us to show how we are innovative and efficient at the same time, but also cautious as well to how we apply it.” 

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: @alanna_smithh

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Police: Pop Smoke's social media led killers to LA home – St. Albert Today

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LOS ANGELES — Authorities believe rising rapper Pop Smoke was shot and killed during a Los Angeles home-invasion robbery in February after his social media posts led five suspects to the house he was renting, police said after detectives arrested the group Thursday morning.

Los Angeles police had initially discounted a robbery theory in the days after the 20-year-old rapper’s death Feb. 19 at a home in the Hollywood Hills. Pop Smoke’s legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson.

Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who oversees the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, said three men and two teenage boys likely went to the home because they knew Pop Smoke was there from social media posts. They stole items from the home, though Tippet said he could not divulge what was taken. The teens were 15 and 17 years old.

“We believe that it was a robbery. Initially we didn’t really have the evidence but then we discovered some other evidence that showed this was likely a home invasion gone bad,” Tippet told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The five suspects were arrested Thursday morning as detectives served several search warrants in Los Angeles. All are believed to be members of a South Los Angeles gang, which Tippet would not name, and at least some of them are believed to be linked to a 2019 homicide when a fight escalated into a shooting outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Pop Smoke and his entourage staying at the home are not believed to be associated with the gang, Tippet said. No one else was shot during the incident.

The Los Angeles Times reported in February that the rapper had posted pictures of him posing by an infinity pool in the home’s backyard, as well as a picture of the Los Angeles skyline from what was likely the house’s backyard. In another post, Pop Smoke or a member of his entourage put a picture of a gift bag tagged with the Hollywood Hills address and a different photo showed him posing by a Ranger Rover in a spot where the home’s address was partly visible in the background.

“It’s our belief that (the home-invasion robbery) was based on some of the social media” posts, Tippet said. “It’s based on the fact that he was posting his information may have contributed to him knowing where to find him.”

The home where the shooting occurred is owned by Edwin Arroyave and his wife Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer John Mellencamp and a star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

Teddi Mellencamp previously said on Instagram that the couple had been notified of the shooting at their rental property but knew no more than what they had seen in media reports.

Pop Smoke arrived on the rap scene in 2018 and broke out with “Welcome to the Party” a gangsta anthem with boasts about shootings, killings and drugs that became a huge sensation, and prompted Nicki Minaj to drop a verse on a remix.

Earlier this year, Pop Smoke released the mixtape “Meet the Woo 2,” which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. It was the follow up to his first official release, “Meet the Woo.” The rapper also had the popular hit “Gatti” with Travis Scott and Jackboys and “Dior.”

Last week, Pop Smoke released his posthumous debut album “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” which was met with mostly positive reviews. The 19-track album featured several star-studded guests including 50 Cent, Roddy Rich, Future, Swae Lee, Quavo and others.

___

Associated Press Writer Jonathan Landrum contributed.

Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press

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New wave of sexual assault allegations in Quebec washes over social media – CBC.ca

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The phone lines at Juripop’s downtown Montreal office have been ringing off the hook since Monday, as a new wave of Quebecers take to social media with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.

Juripop, a low-cost legal clinic, started a free service for sexual assault survivors needing legal advice last month. This week, they’ve seen a surge in demand for it.

“It really started on Monday morning and specifically on Instagram,” Sophie Gagnon, executive director of Juripop, told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak Thursday.

“We’ve opened close to 100 new files and we’ve been receiving calls every 15 to 20 minutes or so.”

Gagnon said the clinic has been tagged in so many posts on Instagram, that they needed to assign a staff member to handle their social media account.

A post by singer Safia Nolin detailing an incident involving celebrity Mariepier Morin in 2018 has fuelled the movement.

Nolin wrote on Instagram that Morin sexually harassed her and made racist comments when they were having drinks together one evening.

“Just because someone is a woman and four foot eleven, doesn’t mean it’s not sexual harassment,” Nolin posted.

Morin has since apologized.

Mariepier Morin (left) has apologized after Safia Nolin accused her of sexual harassment. (Radio-Canada)

Naming names

This latest wave of posts is similar to the #MeToo movement that gained momentum in 2017 and the #BeenRapedNeverReported movement that started a few years prior, but according to Gagnon, there is something different this time around.

“Contrary to #MeToo, more and more people are identifying by name the person who assaulted or offended them,” said Gagnon.

“So that obviously creates a higher risk of libel.”

Several of the people reaching out to the clinic, she said, sought help because they were already facing threats of defamation suits or cease and desist letters because of their social media posts.

Sophie Gagnon, executive director of Juripop, says there has been a new wave of younger Quebecers coming forward with their stories of sexual assault. 4:41

Gagnon said several of the survivors are also a lot younger than they are used to seeing, likely because this latest wave has predominantly been on Instagram.

She said it was important for the clinic to develop this free program, because many survivors don’t realize just how many legal options are available to them.

“The spotlight has often been on the criminal justice system and it’s obviously a big piece of the puzzle but it’s not the only one,” said Gagnon. There are other options, she said, including filing a claim to the human rights commission or making a claim in civil court.

Isabelle Charest, Quebec’s minister responsible for the status of women, was one of many who used social media to point Quebecers in the direction of Juripop.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, she recommended the service to survivors needing advice.

“I want to assure survivors of sexual assault of my support and salute their courage,” Charest wrote.

Gagnon said they have been receiving calls from people of all genders and backgrounds and have been helping callers grapple with situations that have happened recently, as well as claims of assault that originated decades ago.

The free legal helpline for victims of sexual violence,1-855-587-4767, is a pilot program funded by the Quebec government. Gagnon hopes it will be extended permanently past the March 2021 deadline.

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Police: Pop Smoke's social media led killers to LA home – CTV News

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LOS ANGELES —
Authorities believe rising rapper Pop Smoke was shot and killed during a Los Angeles home-invasion robbery in February after his social media posts led five suspects to the house he was renting, police said after detectives arrested the group Thursday morning.

Los Angeles police had initially discounted a robbery theory in the days after the 20-year-old rapper’s death Feb. 19 at a home in the Hollywood Hills. Pop Smoke’s legal name is Bashar Barakah Jackson.

Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who oversees the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, said three men and two teenage boys likely went to the home because they knew Pop Smoke was there from social media posts. They stole items from the home, though Tippet said he could not divulge what was taken. The teens were 15 and 17 years old.

“We believe that it was a robbery. Initially we didn’t really have the evidence but then we discovered some other evidence that showed this was likely a home invasion gone bad,” Tippet told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The five suspects were arrested Thursday morning as detectives served several search warrants in Los Angeles. All are believed to be members of a South Los Angeles gang, which Tippet would not name, and at least some of them are believed to be linked to a 2019 homicide when a fight escalated into a shooting outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Pop Smoke and his entourage staying at the home are not believed to be associated with the gang, Tippet said. No one else was shot during the incident.

The Los Angeles Times reported in February that the rapper had posted pictures of him posing by an infinity pool in the home’s backyard, as well as a picture of the Los Angeles skyline from what was likely the house’s backyard. In another post, Pop Smoke or a member of his entourage put a picture of a gift bag tagged with the Hollywood Hills address and a different photo showed him posing by a Ranger Rover in a spot where the home’s address was partly visible in the background.

“It’s our belief that (the home-invasion robbery) was based on some of the social media” posts, Tippet said. “It’s based on the fact that he was posting his information may have contributed to him knowing where to find him.”

The home where the shooting occurred is owned by Edwin Arroyave and his wife Teddi Mellencamp, daughter of Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer John Mellencamp and a star of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

Teddi Mellencamp previously said on Instagram that the couple had been notified of the shooting at their rental property but knew no more than what they had seen in media reports.

Pop Smoke arrived on the rap scene in 2018 and broke out with “Welcome to the Party” a gangsta anthem with boasts about shootings, killings and drugs that became a huge sensation, and prompted Nicki Minaj to drop a verse on a remix.

Earlier this year, Pop Smoke released the mixtape “Meet the Woo 2,” which debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. It was the follow up to his first official release, “Meet the Woo.” The rapper also had the popular hit “Gatti” with Travis Scott and Jackboys and “Dior.”

Last week, Pop Smoke released his posthumous debut album “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon,” which was met with mostly positive reviews. The 19-track album featured several star-studded guests including 50 Cent, Roddy Rich, Future, Swae Lee, Quavo and others.

——

Associated Press Writer Jonathan Landrum contributed.

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