Clearview AI is trying to become a more permanent fixture of the US law enforcement landscape, its CEO has revealed in an interview with Reuters. The embattled company is specifically targeting the federal government, and wants to convert some of its trial contracts into more long-term arrangements with various agencies.
As it stands, Clearview has already inked deals with at least a dozen federal agencies, including the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, most of those deals are only worth five or six figures, and the company believes that it has an opportunity to turn those into more long-term seven or eight-figure contracts in 2022.
According to Clearview, its interest in government clients is a key part of its broader growth strategy. The company currently has a staff of about 50, but wants to bring on 18 more employees in the next 12 months. Five of those 18 are expected to be engineers who will help to refine Clearview’s controversial AI technologies.
On that front, Clearview also revealed that Terrence Liu is now serving as the company’s Vice President of Research. Liu joined the company in 2021 following a stint at Bloomberg LP, and placed his name on a new patent application alongside CEO Hoan Ton-That. Thus far, Clearview has opted not to disclose the names of any employees other than the CEO, so the news of Liu’s involvement could indicate that the company is looking to take a more public-facing position.
The patent application, meanwhile, details a more streamlined process for the training of facial recognition algorithms. Clearview is planning to use the technology to lower the cost of facial recognition searches (processing costs are already down 95 percent since 2018), and to improve its accuracy over time. For example, Clearview adds distortion to some images to teach its algorithm to work through the effect, and it eventually wants to be able to generate aged up (and aged down) images so people can be matched to younger and older photos of themselves.
Of course, Clearview’s ambitions could still be hampered by its ongoing legal struggles. Several countries have ruled that the company’s invasive data collection practices violate their respective privacy laws, and the company is facing a similar battle in the United States. The company has pressed on despite those setbacks, and has largely ignored any rulings that attempt to limit the scope of its activities. In that regard, the company’s pitch deck claims that it will have 100 billion images in its database before the end of the year.
February 23, 2022 – by Eric Weiss