Won’t sell face recognition app to private firms: Clearview AI

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San Francisco, May 8 (IANS) Coming under pressure for its controversial facial recognition app, Clearview AI has decided to not make this service available to non-governmental customers anywhere, according to a legal filing.

The legal documents filed in an Illinois federal court on Wednesday, was in response to a lawsuit which alleged that Clearview violated one of the state’s rules regarding the use of biometric data for commercial purposes, BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday.

“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,” read Clearview’s filing.

“Clearview is also cancelling all accounts belonging to any entity based in Illinois,” it added.

The company is known for scraping billions of photos from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

A BuzzFeed News investigation in February revealed that over 2,200 police departments, government agencies, and companies across 27 countries had got access to Clearview AI’s facial recognition tool.

This is despite the fact that the CEO of the company, Hoan Ton-That, gave public assurance that Clearview AI’s facial recognition tool was meant for law enforcement.

Several private companies including Macy’s, Walmart, Bank of America, and Target had used the service, said the report.

New York-based Clearview AI claims its technology has helped law enforcement track down hundreds of at-large criminals, including paedophiles, terrorists and sex traffickers.

With the voluntary changes announced in the legal filing, Clearview is hoping to prevent a possible injunction against its business, said the report.

Earlier, several tech companies including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube demanded that Clearview AI must stop collecting images from their platforms.