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Technology Clearview AI, which has facial recognition database of 3 billion images, faces data theft

23:50  26 february  2020
23:50  26 february  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Clearview app lets strangers find your name, info with snap of a photo, report says

  Clearview app lets strangers find your name, info with snap of a photo, report says It may not be long before you'll have to forget about walking down the street anonymously, says a New York Times report.The app, says the Times, works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it's scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there other info could be dug up online.

A facial recognition company dug up billions of photos from Facebook and beyond. Clearview claims it only uses publicly available images (and profile info that was once open even if you've since changed your Facebook now says it's going to look into the service and how it uses Facebook data .

Over 600 US law enforcement agencies have started using a new facial recognition system from Clearview AI . The Clearview system is built upon a database of over three billion images scraped from the internet, a process which may have violated websites’ terms of service.

Facial recognition software firm Clearview AI, which has been criticized for scraping together a database of as many as 3 billion online images, has been hit with a data breach.

The New York-based firm apparently had its list of customers including numerous law enforcement agencies stolen, according to The Daily Beast, which first reported the incident.

The news site reported it had obtained a notice sent to Clearview's customers that an intruder had “gained unauthorized access” to its customer list, the number of searches customers have conducted and other data.

Facebook is latest to demand Clearview stop using its images for controversial facial recognition

  Facebook is latest to demand Clearview stop using its images for controversial facial recognition Twitter and YouTube have also objectedAlthough it has asked Clearview AI to stop using its data, CBS says that Facebook has stopped short of sending a formal cease and desist letter. However, the social media company has sent multiple letters to Clearview to clarify its policies, and to ask for more information about its practices. Facebook is reportedly evaluating its options going forward.

His tiny company, Clearview AI , devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube

Clearview AI , the world’s scariest facial recognition company, can’t even keep its own data secure. Clearview AI has recently attracted criticism from With a database of over 3 billion images , Clearview AI works with law enforcement agencies to identify suspects. Getty Images /iStockphoto.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, file photo, travelers walk through a security checkpoint in Terminal 2 at Salt Lake City International Airport, in Salt Lake City. Federal officials are considering requiring that all travelers, including American citizens, be photographed as they enter or leave the country as part of an identification system using facial-recognition technology. © Rick Bowmer, AP FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, file photo, travelers walk through a security checkpoint in Terminal 2 at Salt Lake City International Airport, in Salt Lake City. Federal officials are considering requiring that all travelers, including American citizens, be photographed as they enter or leave the country as part of an identification system using facial-recognition technology.

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Clearview said in the notice that the company’s servers were not breached and that there was “no compromise of Clearview’s systems or network.”

ACLU rejects Clearview AI's facial recognition accuracy claims

  ACLU rejects Clearview AI's facial recognition accuracy claims Clearview AI's facial recognition isn't just raising privacy issues -- there are also concerns over its accuracy claims. The ACLU has rejected Clearview's assertion that its technology is "100% accurate" based on the civil liberty group's methodology for testing Amazon's Rekognition, telling BuzzFeed News that the findings are "absurd on many levels" and amounted to "manufacturing endorsements." According to the ACLU, there are key differences that make Clearview's sales pitch misleading.

The Clearview AI app says it has a 3 billion image database of photos culled from across the internet. Because Clearview has not yet been checked out by independent experts, it's said that law enforcement agencies are currently uploading what could be sensitive photos to servers which have

The company has a database of 3 billion photos that it collected from the internet, including websites like YouTube, Facebook, Venmo and LinkedIn. Clearview said that the database of images was not hacked. Its photo-scraping and facial recognition capabilities raised privacy concerns, as lawmakers

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However, Clearview's attorney Tor Ekeland said, in a statement sent to USA TODAY, "Security is Clearview's top priority. Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security."

Facial recognition spurs privacy concerns

The issue of facial recognition technology and privacy has been controversial lately. Student uproar over the potential implementation of the face-scanning technology at University of California Los Angeles led the school to drop the plan. An editorial in The Daily Bruin student newspaper described the plan as "a major breach of students’ privacy and make students feel unsafe on a campus they are supposed to call home."

Clearview AI facial recognition company faces another lawsuit

  Clearview AI facial recognition company faces another lawsuit The technology is "Orwellian," a new class action alleges.The app identifies people by comparing photos to a database of images scraped from social media and other sites. It came under fire after a New York Times investigation into the software company last month, with Clearview AI being called a "chilling" privacy risk by Democratic Sen. Edward Markey in late January. Google, YouTube and Twitter have sent cease-and-desist letters to Clearview AI since.

The end of privacy as we know it: Australian tech guru swipes more than THREE BILLION images He later co-founded Clearview AI , which has ground-breaking technology The company's technology is being used by hundreds of US agencies from its database of three billion - that supposedly match.

Clearview secretly collected image data of individuals without their consent, and in violation of rules Facebook has also said that it's reviewing Clearview AI 's practices and that it would take action if it Clearview AI 's founder intends to challenge the cease-and-desist letters from Google and Twitter

Clearview attracted much attention after The New York Times reported in January that the startup had built a database of more than 3 billion images gathered from social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, as well as payment site Venmo and countless other online sites.

The company notes on its website that it searches the open web – not private social media accounts – and markets its investigative tool only to law enforcement agencies and "is NOT available to the public. Federal and state law enforcement officials told The Times that they had used Clearview's app in solving cases from shoplifting to murder and child sexual exploitation cases.

Clearview was founded by Australian technologist Hoan Ton-That and Richard Schwartz, an aide to then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Times reported, and counts Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel among its investors.

Clearview faces criticism

Since the report's publication, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Venmo have sent cease-and-desist letters to Clearview demanding the company stop using its platforms for gathering imagery.

Facial recognition startup Clearview AI says its full client list was stolen

  Facial recognition startup Clearview AI says its full client list was stolen You might expect a high-profile (and controversial) facial recognition startup like Clearview AI would have its data locked down, but it turns out it's just as vulnerable as almost any other company to malicious individuals. In a notification obtained by The Daily Beast, the company says a recent vulnerability allowed someone to gain "unauthorized access" to a list of all of its customers. Clearview works with approximately 600 law enforcement agencies across North America, including the Chicago Police Department. That same intruder also knows how many accounts those organizations set up, as well as how many searches they've conducted in the past.

“YouTube’s Terms of Service explicitly forbid collecting data that can be used to identify a person,” YouTube spokesman Alex Joseph said in a statement. “Clearview has publicly admitted to doing exactly that, and in response we sent them a cease and desist letter.”

The New Jersey attorney general has banned police from using Clearview's app, The Times reported, and the company also faces class action lawsuits in Illinois and Virginia.

And Clearview is coming under scrutiny by some in the U.S. Congress. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), has called for House Financial Services Committee chair Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), to schedule a hearing on the company's data collection practices, Axios reported.

Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who last month expressed concerns about Clearview's technology, strengthened his unease after Wednesday's report. "Clearview’s statement that security is its ‘top priority’ would be laughable if the company’s failure to safeguard its information wasn’t so disturbing and threatening to the public’s privacy,” he said in a statement.

While the company said it had not been hacked, the incident raises apprehension, he says. “If your password gets breached, you can change your password. If your credit card number gets breached, you can cancel your card. But you can’t change biometric information like your facial characteristics if a company like Clearview fails to keep that data secure," Markey said. "This is a company whose entire business model relies on collecting incredibly sensitive and personal information, and this breach is yet another sign that the potential benefits of Clearview’s technology do not outweigh the grave privacy risks it poses.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Clearview AI, which has facial recognition database of 3 billion images, faces data theft

Clearview AI facial recognition app maker sued by Vermont .
Complaint alleges the facial recognition company's scraping of images for its database violates state privacy laws.Clearview identifies people by comparing photos to a database of images scraped from social media and other sites. It came under fire after a New York Times investigation in January. Since then, Sen. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has called Clearview a "chilling" privacy risk. In addition, Google, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter have sent cease-and-desist letters to Clearview. The company also faces multiple lawsuits.

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