'What you need to know about Clearview AI and its facial recognition app'
A startup, Clearview AI, has created an app that can match a picture to a database of billions of public photos scraped from the internet and it is being used by law enforcement agencies, according to a new report.
The New York Times first reported on Clearview and its app in a deep-dive that was published over the weekend. In the report, they called it the “secretive company that might end privacy as we know it.”
The revelations about the app and its functions come amid a major push among digital rights groups and even Congress to regulate facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence.
Clearview AI is an app that essentially allows a user to take a photo of someone, upload it and see a list of public photos of that person and links to where those photos came from.
The database of photos the uploaded one is matched with, according to the Times, is a batch of more than three billion images Clearview vacuumed up from social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and more.
The app is not currently available to the public, but as the Times notes: “Police officers and Clearview’s investors predict that its app will eventually be available to the public.”
More than 600 law enforcement agencies have used Clearview in the past year, the company told the Times.
It’s unclear if Clearview is breaking the rules of the social media sites it is using to scrap photos from. Facebook and other social media companies prohibit scraping images, the Times reports, but Cleaview’s founder told the newspaper that the company “knows” what is happening.
In the report, Facebook told the Times it would take “take appropriate action if we find they are violating our rules.”