Clearview AI Wins Web-Scraping Facial Recognition Patent Triggering Big Brother Privacy Concerns
Late last year, the Los Angeles Police Department banned the use of facial recognition software like Clearview AI, which is used by thousands of law enforcement agencies. However, despite the mounting concerns and push-back regarding facial recognition technology, the United States-based company has effectively been awarded a patent for its technology, which amounts to a search engine of sorts for faces.
In an interview with Politico, Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That explained that the company “[doesn’t] intend to ever make a consumer version of Clearview AI.” However, the patent, which has nearly been approved, explains a use case wherein “it may be desirable for an individual to know more about a person that they meet, such as through business, dating, or other relationship.” Further, the summary of the invention explains that “this disclosure addresses the need mentioned above in a number of aspects,” which is quite concerning despite Ton-That’s reassurances of government-only clients.
Another interesting item of note is that it seems Clearview is trying to buck the system after Facebook shut down its facial recognition system earlier this year. Funnily enough, though, Clearview uses images uploaded to Facebook for its system, citing first amendment rights to use public materials. However, Facebook and other companies such as Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others have either expressed their ire with Clearview or even sent cease and desist letters.
In any event, the award of this patent and acceptance of the needs outlined within indicate that Clearview and the government are willing to open the door to numerous facial recognition implementations. Whether this violates your privacy or not is for you to decide, so let us know what you think in the comments below.