Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That has confirmed that the use of his company’s controversial facial recognition platform skyrocketed on the day after last week’s violent pro-Trump riot in Washington, D.C. Law enforcement agencies are reportedly using the technology to identify the faces of those who attacked the Capitol building on January 6.
The news suggests that Clearview remains popular with law enforcement despite the backlash from legislators and the general public. The company is currently facing multiple lawsuits stemming from its gathering of personal information without any form of consent, while Senator Edward Markey has asked Clearview to be more transparent about its operations. In one instance, he specifically expressed the concern that the technology would be used to target protestors advocating for police reform following the police killing of George Floyd.
However, that has not deterred law enforcement agencies looking for those involved in last Wednesday’s activities. The Miami Police Department and an Alabama police department have both indicated that they are using Clearview to search for potential matches, and are sending any information they do find to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. Overall, Clearview reported a 26 percent increase over its usual weekday search volume on January 7.
While Clearview has stated that it will stop selling its technology to private companies in an effort to stave off greater regulation, law enforcement has always been the company’s primary market and it has continued to make in-roads with the public sector since suspending private sales. The company now has roughly 2,400 agencies on its client roster, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has signed a contract worth $224,000. Clearview also brought in an additional $8.6 million in a funding round that closed in September.
Clearview has terminated all contracts in Canada in response to an ongoing privacy investigation.
Source: The Verge
January 11, 2020 – by Eric Weiss