Clearview Aims to Collect Every Face, and More

March 4, 2022

Chances are, Clearview already has a record of your face. In fact, reports Silicon Republic, “Clearview AI Plans to Put Almost Every Human Face in its Database.” At least that is what it has told its investors, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. Writer Leigh Mc Gowran reports:

“Clearview AI, which describes itself as ‘the world’s largest facial network’, has built a database that currently holds more than 10bn ‘publicly available facial images’ taken from the web. It works with customers such as law enforcement agencies to compare facial data against its database. The US-based company has said this database is the ‘largest known of its kind in its industry’. A financial presentation the company created last December goes further than this publicly available statement. In this document, Clearview claimed it already has 11 times more facial recognition data than any government or non-government entity today. The facial recognition company claimed to be ‘achieving rapid international expansion’. It said it has more than 3,000 security and law enforcement customers in the US, including the FBI and ICE, according to documents shared by Washington Post tech reporter Drew Harwell on Twitter. … Clearview’s technology roadmap goes even further, with plans to develop services such as licence plate recognition, movement tracking and contactless fingerprint recognition. Last month, Clearview AI announced that it was awarded a US patent for a facial recognition capability that performed ‘nearly flawlessly’ in vendor tests.”

It sounds like the company is on a roll. All this despite increased regulatory pressure in several countries. The ACLU and authorities in Australia, Canada, and the UK have all taken action of one sort or another against the company. Meanwhile, mass biometric surveillance in general is being challenged in the EU. A couple companies have reversed course on the technology—Meta (formerly known as Facebook) pledged to delete the facial recognition data it had collected, and IBM promised to jettison its facial recognition and analysis software. For those firms, however, creepy AI was just part of the mix. Such software is Clearview’s entire game, and it seems determined to forge ahead with no regard for attempts to rein it in.

Cynthia Murrell, March 4, 2022


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