DOJ Announces AI-focused Initiatives

In a recent speech, Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced an artificial intelligence (“AI”) initiative that will see the government seek stricter sentences for crimes perpetuated by individuals using artificial intelligence tools. Recognizing the potential dangers and risks in our ever-changing world and how AI could shape its future, she also announced the creation of Justice AI, an initiative that will convene individuals from various areas of expertise and experience on the subject to “understand and prepare for how AI will affect [DOJ’s] mission and how to ensure we accelerate AI’s potential for good while guarding against its risks.” She also mentioned the new Emerging Technology Board, headed by the DOJ’s first chief AI officer, which will advise the DOJ on the potential “responsible and ethical” use of AI by the department in investigating and prosecuting crimes, noting that they already use artificial intelligence to assist the government in various ways, such as tracing the source of drugs and synthesizing large amounts of information it gathers.

Law Enforcement Across Country Already Using AI as an Investigatory Tool

Earlier this year, the United States Senate conducted a hearing after 18 Democratic senators raised concerns about the DOJ’s use of artificial intelligence in their investigations. “We are deeply concerned that facial recognition technology may reinforce racial bias in our criminal justice system and contribute to arrests based on faulty evidence,” the senators, led by Raphael Warnock of Georgia, wrote in a separate letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. However, at the hearing, Miami assistant police chief Armando Aguilar, boasted that his department’s use of AI has helped his city become “safer today than in any other time in our history.” Touting the assistance AI provides officers, he mentioned that it is already used for facial recognition technology, scanning/reading license plates, monitoring potential threats on social media and using ballistic evidence to “connect the shots” between shootings. Aguilar also cited a recent study that said detectives have a 66% greater chance of finding suspects in violent crimes when utilizing AI technology. However, as we have previously discussed, there are also instances of new emerging technology being used by law enforcement to wrongly accuse certain individuals, leading to their temporary arrest that can have far reaching consequences. Anyone implicated through an investigation utilizing artificial intelligence tools should hire an experienced attorney who can review both the legitimacy of any findings and the legality of their use by law enforcement as investigations evolve to fit the current landscape.