Clearview AI, controversial facial recognition company, announces it will stop selling technology to private companies after violent reaction and class action
- Court documents suggest Clearview will stop selling software to private entities
- He will continue his contract with governments and law enforcement
- The move did little to appease public defenders like the ACLU
The controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI has said it will stop supplying its technology to private parties.
According to legal documents first reported by Buzzfeed, the company is ending non-government contracts in response to class actions and scrutiny from regulatory authorities.
Court documents suggest that Clearview intentionally avoids “dealing with non-government clients anywhere”.
Clearview has accumulated a database of over 3 billion photos from sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and even Venmo, which its owner AI analyzes to try to match people in photos uploaded by their customers
“ Clearview cancels the accounts of each client who was not associated with law enforcement or another federal, state, or local service, office or agency, ” the company said in a file.
Buzzfeed reports that the lawsuit from which the documents flow relates to the companies’ use of biometric data that is heard during a hearing in an Illinois federal court.
The documents also show that Clearview will end its contracts with all Illinois entities as part of the lawsuit.
Clearview’s decision to terminate contracts with private companies, however, did little to appease public defenders like the American Civil Liberties Union.
“These promises fail to address concerns about Clearview’s reckless and dangerous business model,” Nathan Freed Wessler, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.
“There is no guarantee that these measures will actually protect the residents of Illinois. And, even if there were, making promises about a state does nothing to end Clearview’s misuse of the facial prints of people across the country. “
Clearview AI software allows customers to identify people by uploading photos to company servers, where they are compared to a database of over 3 billion photos from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and even Venmo.
Clearview AI is under scrutiny for its photo capture practices on social media as well as for its partnerships with law enforcement
The service has reportedly been used by at least 600 different law enforcement agencies in the past year, including the Chicago Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
While Clearview has signaled that it will end private contracts, a recent Buzzfeed report shows that the company continues to develop other commercial equipment.
According to the documents obtained by Buzzfeed News, Clearview AI is exploring the possibility of manufacturing surveillance cameras that use computer vision software to identify subjects by crossing a database.
Clearview’s cameras are said to be tested by two companies and are being developed under a division of Clearview called Insight Camera.
The company has yet to establish a public link with Insight, but a Buzzfeed survey has successfully connected the two by evaluating the code on the two companies’ websites. In each, similar code contained references to Clearview servers.