Clearview AI's Facial Recognition App is Expanding its Sales

Published on: 24 May 2022
by KnowESG
female engineer

Clearview AI is expanding sales of its facial recognition software to companies. It fuels an emerging debate over the ethics of leveraging disputed data to design artificial intelligence systems such as facial recognition for use by police and other law enforcement in the U.S.-Canada border regions.

Clearview AI is expanding sales of its facial recognition software to companies from mainly serving the police, it told Reuters, inviting scrutiny on how the startup capitalizes on billions of photos it scrapes from social media profiles. Sales could be significant for Clearview, a presenter on Wednesday at the Montgomery Summit investor conference in California. Clearview's usage of publicly available photos to train its tool draws it high marks for accuracy.

The United Kingdom and Italy fined Clearview for breaking privacy laws by collecting online images without consent, and the company this month settled with U.S. rights activists over similar allegations. Clearview primarily helps police identify people through social media images, but that business is under threat due to regulatory investigations.

The settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union bans Clearview from providing the social-media capability to corporate clients. Vaale, a Colombian app-based lending startup, said it was adopting Clearview to match selfies to user-uploaded ID photos. Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That said a U.S. company selling visitor management systems to schools had signed up as well and that a customer's photo database is stored as long as they wish and not shared with others, nor used to train Clearview's AI. But the face-matching that Clearview is selling to companies was trained on social media photos.

Nathan Freed Wessler, an ACLU attorney involved in the union's case against Clearview, said using ill-gotten data is an inappropriate way to pursue developing less-biased algorithms. When a company chooses to ignore legal protections to collect data, they should bear the risk that they will be held to account.

Source: Channel News Asia