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Some Defense Lawyers, Judges Question Cybercheck AI Tool

Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have turned to a little-known artificial intelligence tool to help investigate, charge and convict suspects accused of murder and other serious crimes. As the software, called Cybercheck, has spread, defense lawyers have questioned its accuracy and reliability. They say its methodology is opaque and that it hasn’t been independently vetted, reports NBC News. The company behind the software says it relies on machine learning to scour vast swaths of the web and gather “open source intelligence” — social media profiles, email addresses and other publicly available information — to help identify potential suspects’ physical locations and other details in homicides and human trafficking crimes, cold cases and manhunts.


The tool’s creator, Adam Mosher, says Cybercheck’s accuracy tops 90% and that it performs automated research that would take humans hundreds of hours to complete. The software has been used in nearly 8,000 cases spanning 40 states and nearly 300 agencies. In a New York case, a judge barred authorities from introducing Cybercheck evidence last year after having found that prosecutors hadn’t shown that it was reliable or well-accepted. In another ruling last year, an Ohio judge blocked a Cybercheck analysis when Mosher refused to disclose the software’s methodology. “We’re being asked to trust a company to present evidence that could eventually put people in prison,” said William Budington of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. “That goes against the right to due process.”


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