NYC tests AI gun detectors

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New York City has announced the initiation of a pilot program to test artificial intelligence-based gun detection systems in its subway system. This decision comes in response to a series of violent incidents, including shootings and stabbings, which have raised concerns about public safety in the subway. The technology, provided by Evolv, a Massachusetts-based company, is designed to detect firearms at subway turnstiles using "safe, ultra-low frequency, electromagnetic fields, and advanced sensors"123410. The pilot program will begin after a 90-day waiting period, as required by the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, which mandates the NYPD to disclose surveillance technologies and publish impact and usage assessments before implementation123467910. During this period, the city also plans to evaluate alternative vendors and technologies110. Evolv's scanners are already in use at various venues across the country, including Citi Field, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art14710. However, the company has faced scrutiny over the accuracy of its devices, with reports of false positives and failures to detect certain weapons12710. There are also ongoing investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as a shareholder lawsuit alleging that Evolv misrepresented the efficacy of its products12710. Mayor Eric Adams has emphasized the importance of embracing technological innovations to enhance public safety, despite the controversies surrounding the technology's effectiveness and potential privacy concerns1234710. The NYPD will perform its own analysis of the scanners' accuracy, and the city has stated that the technology will be used within the law, balancing privacy with public safety37. The deployment of the AI gun detection systems is part of a broader strategy to improve subway safety, which includes additional police presence, crackdowns on fare evasion, and efforts to address mental health issues among individuals living in the subway system3467910. The exact locations and the number of scanners to be installed have not been disclosed134710. The initiative has drawn criticism from civil liberties groups, such as the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the Legal Aid Society, which have raised concerns about privacy violations and the reliability of the technology5710. They argue that the deployment of such systems could lead to false positives, causing unnecessary panic and potentially targeting specific groups of New Yorkers5710. In summary, NYC's plan to test AI gun detectors in the subway system is a response to increasing concerns about violence and public safety. The technology's effectiveness and the ethical implications of its use are subjects of debate, and the city will be conducting a thorough evaluation during the mandated waiting period before full implementation.
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