Wednesday, November 24, 2021
LOS ANGELES/WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When the sheriff in Suffolk County, New York, requested $700,000 from the U.S. government for an artificial intelligence system to eavesdrop on prison phone conversations, his office called it a key tool in fighting gang-related and violent crime.
But the county jail ended up listening to calls involving a much wider range of subjects - scanning as many as 600,000 minutes per month, according to public records from the county obtained by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Beginning in 2019, Suffolk County was an early pilot site for the Verus AI-scanning system sold by California-based LEO Technologies, which uses Amazon speech-to-text technology to transcribe phone calls flagged by key word searches.
The company and law enforcement officials say it is a crucial tool to keep prisons and jails safe, and fight crime, but critics say such systems trample the privacy rights of prisoners and other people, like family members, on the outside.
I don't have a problem with AI being used to monitor calls from prisoners, but you know they're using or will be using on us as well.