Senators question DOJ funding for AI-powered policing tech

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Michael Williams sits for an interview in his South Side Chicago home Tuesday, July 27, 2021. After prosecutors used ShotSpotter evidence to build their case against Williams, who spent 11 months behind bars before being released, he said, “I kept trying to figure out, how can they get away with using the technology like that against me?” he asked. “That’s not fair.” Williams was released after nearly a year because of insufficient evidence. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Some Capitol Hill Democrats and civil rights advocates are concerned about how police and prosecutors increasingly use algorithm-powered technologies that may amplify racial bias.

In response to an Associated Press investigation into the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says artificial intelligence-backed tools can “increase the potential for sending innocent people to prison.”

Wyden says he and seven other Democrats are waiting for a U.S. Justice Department response to their demand for oversight of the millions in federal funds sent to law enforcement agencies to buy algorithm-powered technologies.

Activists rallied in front of a Chicago police station on Thursday demanding the city end its contract with ShotSpotter.

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