Monday, April 19, 2021

Utah gave millionaire contract to AI surveillance company (which had no AI)

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Photograph of an article in The Tennessean, in which Banjo founder Damien Patton appears, with ties to the KKK.

Utah gave a five-year contract worth $ 20.7 million to an Artificial Intelligence (AI) surveillance company that didn’t even have AI technology. The company’s founder also had ties to KKK in his youth.

The company, called Banjo, proposed to analyze traffic cameras, CCTV cameras, social networks, 112 emergency systems and real-time location data, in order to alert the police about where a particular crime was taking place.

In addition, it also proposed to create a “solution for the homeless” and to detect “opioid events” through its software, called Live Time. To do this, Banjo collected a big data flow from Utah cities and counties, US United States.

The main problem is that Banjo did not use Artificial Intelligence as promised, writes VICE. In this way, the company achieved an advantage over its rivals in the tender launched by the state of Utah.

“Live Time’s real capabilities seemed inconsistent with Banjo’s claims,” ​​wrote John Dugall, a state auditor, in a report released this week.

Since VICE’s disclosures were made public, the five-year contract has been suspended and a privacy audit has been commissioned. An investigation by OneZero also revealed documents showing that the company’s CEO, Damien Patton, admitted to being a skinhead neonazi in his youth and he once helped a KKK leader in a shooting at a synagogue.

In response to the controversy, Banjo has since changed its name and is now called safeXai.

In a demonstration for the auditor in 2020, Banjo stated that none of its technologies is really “Artificial Intelligence”, and the auditor found that it does not have the majority of the capabilities it originally said it had during the public tender.

The audit also revealed the danger of misappropriation or theft of data worked by the technology company.

Daniel Costa Daniel Costa, ZAP //

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