Surveillance Startup Banjo Suspends All Government Work After Founder’s KKK Links Revealed

Banjo, the controversial Utah artificial-intelligence company whose founder was revealed this week to have been once actively involved in the Ku Klux Klan, will suspend all data collection and surveillance in the state. Banjo made the announcement on its website late Wednesday night, saying it would not be “providing any services to government entities” until a full audit is undertaken. The announcement comes one day after the Utah Attorney General’s Office suspended its contract with the firm after it was revealed that Damien Patton, 47, Banjo’s co-founder, helped a KKK leader shoot up a synagogue when he was a teen. No one was killed in the shooting, but Patton pleaded guilty to charges of juvenile delinquency, according to documents. “We believe that the blacks and the Jews are taking over America, and it’s our job to take America back for the white race,” Patton said at a trial in the 1990s for the shooting. On Wednesday, Patton said, “I am deeply ashamed of my actions and do not hold any of these beliefs, which I find abhorrent and indefensible.” Banjo has faced criticism from privacy advocates for its contract to create a statewide surveillance system, and was granted access to traffic cameras, street cameras, and 911 emergency systems to help police track down criminal activity “in seconds.”

*story by The Daily Beast