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18 Jan 2020

Kashmir Hill, The New York Times

Use of Clearview AI's facial recognition app by law enforcement raises surveillance & privacy-related concerns

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"The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It", 18 January 2020

Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app... [The] backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites... Clearview has also licensed the app to at least a handful of companies for security purposes...  It has a tendency to deliver false matches for certain groups, like people of color... “Laws have to determine what’s legal, but you can’t ban technology. Sure, that might lead to a dystopian future or something, but you can’t ban it.” [said Mr. David Scalzo, one of the founders of Clearview]... 

The Indiana State Police became Clearview’s first paying customer... Federal law enforcement, including the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, are trying it, as are Canadian law enforcement authorities, according to the company and government officials... “We have no data to suggest this tool is accurate,” said Clare Garvie, a researcher at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology... Mr. Clement [a United States solicitor] said law enforcement agencies “do not violate the federal Constitution or relevant existing state biometric and privacy laws when using Clearview for its intended purpose.”... “There’s always going to be a community of bad people who will misuse it,” [said Mr. Ton-That, in response to the app being available to the public].