It’s been a busy week for Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition company that uses 3 billion photos scraped from the web to power a search engine for faces. On April 6, Buzzfeed News published a database of over 1,800 entities—including state and local police and other taxpayer-funded agencies such as health-care systems and public schools—that it says have used the company’s controversial products. Many of those agencies replied to the accusations by saying they had only trialed the technology and had no formal contract with the company.
But the day before, the definition of a “trial” with Clearview was detailed when nonprofit news site Muckrock released emails between the New York Police Department and the company. The documents, obtained through freedom of information requests by the Legal Aid Society and journalist Rachel Richards, track a friendly two-year relationship between the department and the tech company during which time NYPD tested the technology many times, and used facial recognition in live investigations.