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Salt Lake City police won't share info with surveillance company Banjo

Posted at 4:26 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 18:58:07-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Police Chief Mike Brown has directed the Salt Lake City Police Department to not share any information with Banjo, the artificial intelligence surveillance company coming under scrutiny from lawmakers and civil liberties groups.

In a statement Wednesday, the department confirmed it has would not share data with Banjo and is evaluating any future partnership with the company. It has discontinued its review of the product. The agency clarified that it never provided any data to begin with.

“As law enforcement, we are hopeful for the assistance that a product like Banjo offers. But we do take personal privacy very seriously. The founding principles of this country include the rights of the individual and their privacy. Because of this we want to make sure we fully vet any product before sharing their information,” said Chief Mike Brown.

The move comes a day after FOX 13 reported the Utah State Legislature declined to give Banjo an additional $5 million on top of its $20 million contract with the state. House Majority Leader Francis Gibson said he was contemplating legislation to regulate the company out of concerns about privacy.

Banjo has faced scrutiny since last year when legislative leaders expressed concerns the system, which scrapes up data sources from a number of places to alert law enforcement to a potential emergency, violates privacy.

In a statement to FOX 13, Banjo said it was open to working with lawmakers to address concerns.