Meta sues predictive policing firm Voyager Labs for data scraping

Occurred: January 2023

Facebook owner Meta filed a legal complaint against an AI-powered predictive policing company for using fake Facebook accounts to scrape user data and provide surveillance services to clients.

According to the legal filing, Voyager Labs created 38,000+ fake Facebook user accounts and used its surveillance software to gather data from 600,000 Facebook and Instagram users without consent.  

Meta demanded that the company stop violating its terms of service and requested it is permanently banned from using Facebook, Instagram, and services related to those platforms. Meta also claimed that Voyager Labs unjustly enriched itself at Meta’s expense, and requested it compensate Meta for its 'ill-gotten profits in an amount to be proven at trial.'

The incident raised questions about the legality and ethics of Voyager Lab's governance, notably its data collection policies and processes.

Operator: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)
Developer: Voyager Labs
Country: USA
Sector: Govt - police
Purpose: Predict crime
Technology: Machine learning; NLP/text analysis; Pattern recognition; Social media monitoring
Issue: Ethics/values; Human/civil rights; Privacy
Transparency: Governance

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Type: Incident
Published: March 2024