Clearview AI, a facial recognition company that offers paid services to law enforcement agencies, has reported that its entire client list has been stolen.
According to The Daily Beast, the company sent a notice to its customers in which it said an intruder “gained unauthorized access” to its customer list, the number of accounts those customers have set up, and the number of searches they have conducted.
The same notice said that though the customer list was stolen, Clearview’s servers were not breached, and there was “no compromise of Clearview’s systems or network.”
The company also noted that the vulnerability that allowed for the theft was fixed, and the intruder did not obtain the search histories of any law-enforcement agencies.
Clearview AI — which has reportedly scraped 3 billion images from the internet including from Facebook, Youtube, and Venmo — made headlines recently as the subject of a front-page story in The New York Times last month profiling the work it does with law-enforcement agencies. Clearview’s AI scrapes images from social media platforms and websites, amassing a database that can be used by law-enforcement agencies to conduct facial-recognition searches.
In the wake of that story, Clearview AI found itself the subject of cease-and-desist notices from Facebook, Google and YouTube regarding its use of images scraped from their sites.
“Security is Clearview’s top priority,” said Clearview attorney Tor Ekeland, in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security,” he added.
However, despite Clearview’s assurances that the vulnerabilities that allowed for the breach have been solved, some in the industry have expressed concern.
“If you’re a law-enforcement agency, it’s a big deal,” said David Forscey, managing director of the not-for-profit Aspen Cybersecurity Group. “[Customers] depend on Clearview as a service provider to have good security, and it seems like they don’t.”
Source: The Daily Beast
February 27, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis