Clearview AI is reportedly set to cancel client accounts that are not associated with law enforcement or other government entities, as scrutiny grows over abuses of the facial recognition AI app.
The controversial face-tracking technology firm is associated with right-wing extremists and known for scraping more than 3 billion photos from social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.
Facing a number of lawsuits, the New York startup said it "is cancelling the accounts of every customer who was not either associated with law enforcement or some other federal, state, or local government department, office, or agency," report Ryan Mac, Caroline Haskins, and Logan McDonald at Buzzfeed News:
Responding to one of those lawsuits, Clearview claimed in legal documents filed in an Illinois federal court on Wednesday that it was taking those voluntary actions and would "avoid transacting with non-governmental customers anywhere." That specific suit, which argues Clearview violated an Illinois statute regarding the use of biometric data for commercial purposes, is seeking a temporary injunction that would prevent the company from using the information of current and past Illinois residents for its facial recognition software.
Clearview's shift away from private businesses comes after months of mounting legal threats and scrutiny from lawmakers, activist groups, and news organizations. In February, a BuzzFeed News investigation found the company had provided its facial recognition tool to more than 2,200 police departments, government agencies, and companies across 27 countries. Despite public assurances from Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That that its software was meant for law enforcement, internal documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News showed numerous private companies had used the service including Macy's, Walmart, Bank of America, and Target.
"Clearview is cancelling the accounts of every customer who was not either associated with law enforcement or some other federal, state, or local government department, office, or agency," the company said in a filing, which argued that a federal judge should not grant the injunction because it was taking voluntary steps to comply with the state law. "Clearview is also cancelling all accounts belonging to any entity based in Illinois."
More at Buzzfeed News:
Clearview AI Has Promised To Cancel All Relationships With Private Companies
Following several lawsuits and our reporting on its undisclosed corporate relationships, facial recognition company Clearview AI says it is ending all accounts and ties with non-law enforcement entities https://t.co/jGuhx5CVrn
— Ryan Mac 🙃 (@RMac18) May 7, 2020
The move comes after Clearview was sued under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The company is also cancelling all contracts with police in Illinois + preventing any state residents from running searcheshttps://t.co/CZSRIIFJdi
— Caroline Haskins (@carolineha_) May 7, 2020
The creator of the most dangerous facial recognition tool yet devised promises to ONLY sell it to violent racist gangs whose entire purpose is to destroy the lives of as many people as possible.
I'm sure you feel safer now.https://t.co/9zCcslvWqC
— Maggie McNeill (@Maggie_McNeill) May 8, 2020
Kudos to the @BuzzFeed reporters who've diligently reported out this story.
— Mijente 🐜🐜🐜 (@ConMijente) May 8, 2020