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Technology Clearview AI leak names businesses using its facial recognition database

20:45  28 february  2020
20:45  28 february  2020 Source:   engadget.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.

One of the most vehement arguments against Clearview AI's practice of scraping billions of photos from millions of public websites to build its facial recognition database was that the company's data storage and security protocols were both untested and unregulated. On Wednesday, Clearview AI claimed that its facial recognition database was hacked, giving intruders access the the company's full client list, which Buzzfeed News has acquired.

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Thousands of public law enforcement agencies and private companies are named in the client logs including Best Buy and Macy's, the Department of Justice including ICE, the CBP, Interpol, and the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, as well as a number of foreign states like the UAE.

Google, YouTube move to block facial recognition app that helps police

  Google, YouTube move to block facial recognition app that helps police The tech companies join Twitter in trying to block Clearview AI from taking pictures from their platforms. © CBS News clearview-app-3.jpg The app is only available to law enforcement to be used to identify criminals, according to Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That. But YouTube, which is owned by Google, and Twitter say the company is violating their policies. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Facial recognition software isn't exactly new, machine learning researchers have been hammering away at the challenge since the early '60s. But recent advances in processing systems as well as an explosion of available training data have rapidly advanced the state of the art in the past few years. Today, thanks to advanced machine learning and computer vision algorithms, facial recognition systems like Clearview AI are able to identify subjects -- even from grainy low-res security cam footage -- with startlingly high degrees of accuracy.

But while many of these autonomous systems are limited in capacity to mugshot databases that number in the hundreds of thousands of images, such as the one used in the one used in the 2018 ACLU test of Amazon's Rekognition software, Clearview has scraped 3 billion photos from millions of the internet's most popular social media and commerce sites -- from Facebook and YouTube to LinkedIn and PayPal. According to the documents acquired and verified by Buzzfeed, some 2,900 institutions in total have utilized the service since its launch. Out of those, 2,228 entities have performed nearly 500,000 searches.

Facebook and Venmo demand Clearview AI stops scraping their data

  Facebook and Venmo demand Clearview AI stops scraping their data Following Google and Twitter, Facebook has become the latest company to take legal action against controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI. According to Buzzfeed News, the company sent a cease-and-desist letter to Clearview sometime this week, demanding that it stop taking data from Facebook and Instagram. "Scraping people's information violates our policies, which is why we've demanded that Clearview stop accessing or using information from Facebook or Instagram," a spokesperson for the company told Buzzfeed News.Before sending the letter, it appears Facebook had tried several different approaches to get Clearview to comply.

The Department of Homeland Security for example, which runs the CBP, has more than 280 registered accounts which have run 7,500 searches. That's nothing compared to ICE, which racked up 8,000 searches from just 60 accounts associated with an El Paso, TX Homeland Security field office. The US Secret Service and FBI are also heavy users of the service with 5,600 and 5,700 searches respectively.

More than 200 private companies have also created accounts with the service. The list includes Las Vegas casinos, Madison Square Garden, the NBA, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Kohl's, Albertson's and even Equinox. Yeah, the gym. Macy's tops the list with 6,000 searches from a paid account.

Despite the intrusion, the company remains nonplussed about its data system security. "Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed," Tor Ekeland, an attorney for the company, told the Daily Beast. "We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security."

Buzzfeed

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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