Embattled facial recognition specialist Clearview AI has already started to win business from its expansion into the commercial market.
From this week’s Montgomery Summit investor conference in California, Reuters reports that Vaale, a Colombia-based financial services startup, has revealed that it will use Clearview technology for selfie-based user onboarding. What’s more, Clearview beat out a big-name competitor in winning the contract: Vaale had previously been using Amazon’s Rekognition system for onboarding, but decided to make the switch.
Clearview is, at this point, notorious for its development of a facial recognition system that can match faces against a database that the company built by trawling the internet, including social media platforms. In recent years the company has courted controversy through its provision of this technology to various law enforcement agencies, prompting outrage from privacy and civil rights advocates, and ultimately fines and other penalties from regulatory bodies around the world.
A pitch deck for investors that was leaked earlier this year showed that despite these various forms of pushback, Clearview had ambitious plans to dramatically expand its facial recognition database. But it also indicated that the company was planning to develop a separate facial recognition solution aimed at the private sector, which CEO Hoan Ton-That confirmed in April.
The new solution is similar in concept to a number of others that have risen to prominence in recent years by enabling selfie-based identity verification using facial recognition. It matches users to photos of their official ID, and can also be matched against a client’s own database for access control purposes.
While the new solution was trained on Clearview’s controversial database, its design is meant to ensure end users’ privacy by not sharing their images with other parties; and Clearview says it will not train its facial recognition algorithm on these user images.
According to Reuters, a presenter at the Montgomery Summit indicated that the new solution could deliver “significant” sales for Clearview. Vaale CEO Santiago Tobón said that it is both faster and more accurate than Amazon’s Rekognition while being about 20 percent cheaper; and Clearview’s Ton-That said that Clearview has also signed a new client specializing in visitor management tools for schools.
Clearview’s entry into the commercial selfie authentication market may prove to be a disruptive one. Vendors have enjoyed booming business in recent years, but will now have to contend with a competitor that has an especially high profile in mainstream media, and a reputation that could draw more scrutiny to the space.
May 24, 2022 – by Alex Perala