US prison surveillance
Source :- Voice of America

Many rights groups are challenging a clampdown on an artificial intelligence system. It is used to monitor US Prison Surveillance phone calls.  After a Thomson Reuters Foundation examination focused attention on the risk of rights violations.

US prison surveillance:-

US prison Surveillance software also called Verus was being used by prison and jail authorities. It is usually used to scan for keywords and leverages. Also used for Amazon’s voice-to-text transcription service as well as to monitor all the prisoners’ phone calls.

California-based LEO Technologies said that they have scanned around 300 million minutes. It included minutes of calls incoming and outgoing of US prison surveillance and jails in the US. It also explained the tool as a way to oppose crime. It also helps to keep inmates guarded.

The US prison surveillance many times overstepped legal limits. It targeted conversations as said by Civil and digital rights groups. It was unrelated to the safety and certainty of detention facilities or any other possible criminal activity.

US prison surveillance
Source :- Architectural Record

This surveillance violates the rights of incarcerated Americans. Most of them have not been accused. They are still working on their defenses, as well as their families, friends, and loved ones.

Four letters were dispatched to the attorney general’s office in New York State. Also to the state’s Inspector General and the federal Department of Justice (DOJ).

A grant of 00,000 is being provided to the sheriff’s office in Suffolk County by The DOJ. It was done to implement a pilot of the AI-powered voice-to-text surveillance system in 2020.

Undersheriff Kevin Catalina helped to run the Verus program in Suffolk. He also told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the system is important for alerting jail authorities. As they are suicidal to people and to recognize gang members behind bars. He also said that it saves lives.

The department is reviewing technology programs as said by a DOJ official.  It is receiving federal funding. It will make sure that they are increasing public safety during respecting constitutional rights.

A spokesperson, an Inspector General’s Office said in emailed comments. They would review the letter and thoroughly investigate all the complaints that are sent in.

Around 50 advocacy groups are members of the campaign. One of them was the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Worth Rises, the Innocence Project, and Access Now.

They also lift l about the prison phone call company Securus. All the recording of conversations was secured by the attorney-client privilege.

The company is enacted to secure civil liberties as said by Securus spokesperson. The users can set solicitor numbers to private – meaning calls. These calls are not recorded as well as cannot be monitored.  They acted spontaneously to delete inadvertent recordings.

US prison surveillance
Source :- NewsBreak

A representative for LEO did not answer to appeal for comment on the letters.

Albert Fox Cahn said that It appeared like the regulators have been napping at the switch at the federal, state, and local levels. He is the head of the US prison Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, which assisted to draft the letter.

It was also expanded beyond New York as Suffolk County was trailing. As well as winning state contracts in Georgia, Texas, and all sheriff’s departments around the United States.


Further expansion of US prison surveillance tools in prisons and jails is urged to be blocked by the rights group.  They said that they have the strength to produce racial bias. Also to undermine privacy rights, without any track record of success.

A letter was addressed to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. The groups cited research showed that voice-to-text tools have a very big error rate for Black voices. Black people are unequally regarded as US prison surveillance.


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