Clearview AI Says It Will No Longer Provide Facial Recognition To Private Companies - 2020-05-07
Clearview AI — the controversial face-tracking company known for scraping more than 3 billion photos from social media sites including Facebook and Twitter — said it is ending its relationships with non–law enforcement entities and private companies amid regulatory scrutiny and several potential class action lawsuits.
Responding to one of those lawsuits, Clearview claimed in legal documents filed in an Illinois federal court on Wednesday that it was taking those voluntary actions and would "avoid transacting with non-governmental customers anywhere." That specific suit, which argues Clearview violated an Illinois statute regarding the use of biometric data for commercial purposes, is seeking a temporary injunction that would prevent the company from using the information of current and past Illinois residents for its facial recognition software.
Clearview's shift away from private businesses comes after months of mounting legal threats and scrutiny from lawmakers, activist groups, and news organizations. In February, a BuzzFeed News investigation found the company had provided its facial recognition tool to more than 2,200 police departments, government agencies, and companies across 27 countries. Despite public assurances from Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That that its software was meant for law enforcement, internal documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News showed numerous private companies had used the service including Macy's, Walmart, Bank of America, and Target.