Here's the File Clearview AI Has Been Keeping on Me, and Probably on You Too - 2020-02-28
After a recent, extensive, and rather withering bout of bad press, the facial recognition company Clearview AI has changed its homepage, which now touts all the things it says its technology can do, and a few things it can't. Clearview's system, the company says, is "an after-the-fact research tool. Clearview is not a surveillance system and is not built like one. For example, analysts upload images from crime scenes and compare them to publicly available images." In doing so, it says, it has the power to help its clients—which include police departments, ICE, Macy's, Walmart, and the FBI, according to a recent Buzzfeed report—stop criminals: "Clearview helps to identify child molesters, murderers, suspected terrorists, and other dangerous people quickly, accurately, and reliably to keep our families and communities safe."
What goes unsaid here is that Clearview claims to do these things by building an extremely large database of photos of ordinary U.S. citizens, who are not accused of any wrongdoing, and making that database searchable for the thousands of clients to whom it has already sold the technology. I am in that database, and you probably are too.