The facial-identification software used in a California law enforcement agency that is suspected of using the system to identify criminals and drug traffickers has been hacked and released for the public to see, according to a document published on the web.
The software, used by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to track the location of individuals suspected of drug crimes and other crimes, has been publicly available for several weeks to law enforcement agencies across the country, including the San Diego Sheriff’s Office, the San Francisco Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff and the Riverside County Sheriff.
In a statement, the California Department of Justice, which is investigating the leak, said the law enforcement software was used to create a digital “fingerprint” that would allow law enforcement to identify individuals who have committed crimes.
The law enforcement tool was developed by a company called LazerID, which was founded by a former security researcher who has since left the company, according a statement from the department.
LazerIDs software is not intended to identify any individual, according the statement.
The law enforcement tools are not designed to be used by law enforcement officers, the statement said.
The company, which says it is not affiliated with the California law-enforcement agency, released the document online Wednesday and posted a link to it to Pastebin, a website that lets people publish documents.
The document was dated Feb. 17 and is marked “secret,” but it was not immediately clear if the leak had been publicly reported.
The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
“We want to be clear that this is not a threat to law-abiding individuals, and we are not aware of any specific information that indicates this is a threat,” said the statement, which did not identify the person who had made the release.
“This information is only being released because it is now public knowledge that this tool was used by a federal law enforcement office.”
A person familiar with the leak told Recode that the software was not connected to any specific crimes and had been developed to help law enforcement with their investigations.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the company had not been authorized to discuss the case publicly.
Law enforcement agencies in California and other states have been using the software to track down fugitives.
A recent report by the Washington Post said more than 5,000 law enforcement officials had used it in the past year.
California, which has been the epicenter of the fight over law enforcement use of facial recognition technology, has said the software may have been used to track drug suspects.
In June, California Gov.
Gavin Newsom issued a directive instructing law enforcement departments to begin using facial recognition software that is not connected with criminal investigations.
Law-enforcement officials have complained that the technology could lead to abuse by criminals, but it has also been widely used in criminal investigations by police departments across the nation.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s department said in a statement Wednesday that it is “working with law enforcement partners across the state of California to provide these tools to our law enforcement and public safety personnel.”
LazerID declined to comment on the documents released Wednesday, but a statement said the company has been working on facial recognition for about a decade.
LazerIDs founder and chief technology officer, Scott Hockenberry, said in an interview with the Associated Press last year that his company would “never use the word hack.”
“If you want to call it a hack, you’re in trouble,” Hockanberry said.
“If you call it malware, you can have your computer shut down.”
A Lazer ID product, called the PGP Fingerprint ID, is shown in this illustration picture taken in Vienna, Austria, May 26, 2020.
REUTERS/Heinz-Peter BaderLazerid is the name of a California-based company that makes a software called PGP fingerprinting technology that law enforcement uses to identify suspects.
A person familiar said the product is not related to criminal investigations and was developed to assist law enforcement in their investigations, the person said.
Law Enforcement officials have also said the facial-matching software was widely used by police agencies in the United States, including in the San Bernadino Police Department.
In 2014, a San Bernadean police officer named Joe Correia used the facial recognition tool in an undercover sting to track suspects who were arrested in a parking lot, authorities said.
Correia was later convicted of lying to federal investigators and sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Correio was released from jail in December.
Lawmakers in California have said they are worried about the widespread use of the facial database, which allows police to identify criminal suspects by their facial features.
In March, California Assemblywoman Michele Fioretti, a Democrat, wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying she was concerned that law-and-order issues would be overshadowed by the potential