Investors are yet to be discouraged by Clearview AI’s ongoing legal troubles. The company has now raised $30 million in Series B funding, adding to the $8.6 million that Clearview brought in back in September of 2020.
Clearview has been able to raise those funds despite considerable public backlash and several ongoing lawsuits in multiple countries and jurisdictions all over the world. The company is best known for developing a controversial facial recognition tool for law enforcement. However, lawmakers and privacy watchdogs have criticized the company for its flagrant disregard of international privacy law. Clearview’s system was built using billions of images that were scraped from social media sites without any form of permission or consent, and the company has since been hit with cease and desist orders from titans like Twitter and Google.
The Series B announcement hints at some of that controversy, insofar as Clearview’s backers have opted not to disclose their involvement with the company and risk more bad publicity. Clearview has instead stated that its backers represent “institutional investors and private family offices.” Peter Thiel and conservative activist Hal Lambert are some of the individuals that have backed the company in the past.
The success of Clearview’s funding round speaks to the growing venture capital interest in facial recognition technology, though it is worth noting that $30 million pales in comparison to the $150 million that Jumio secured in March, or the $235 million that AnyVision raised earlier this month. As a corporate entity, Clearview is now valued at a total of approximately $130 million.
Clearview has already been barred from doing business in Canada, and it is staring down similar privacy investigations in Australia and the UK. The company has also been accused of violating state laws in California and Illinois in the United States.
Source: The New York Times
July 22, 2021 – by Eric Weiss