back to article Clearview AI wants its facial-recognition tech in banks, schools, etc

Clearview AI is reportedly expanding its facial-recognition services beyond law enforcement to include private industries, such as banking and education, amid mounting pressure from regulators, Big Tech, and privacy campaigners. The New York-based startup's gigantic database contains more than 20 billion photos scraped from …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge


    "the company believes its technology is beneficial despite risks"

    They don't say to who so I'll clarify.

    It's beneficial to the execs and investors.

    It's just risky to the rest of us.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Trust us everything in business

    Clear view are happy to pay fines as it breaks rules

    So are they trustworthy?

    Are they really?

    1. Kane Silver badge

      Re: Trust

      "Clear view are happy to pay fines as it breaks rules"

      The Cost of Doing Business®

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Trust

        Isn't "the cost of doing business" a euphemism for "collateral damage"?

  3. Scott Broukell

    "The potential of facial recognition technology to make our communities safer and commerce secure is just beginning to be realized" - Yes, and do you all remember how "digital technologies" made the same promises at the start of the century. And yet, here we are, some twenty years later, with consequentially far higher and ever increasing levels of financial/identity fraud and scamming on-line! Where software patches and updates are rolled out on a near daily basis!

    No, Clearview (et al), I think that you, and others like you, simply want to protect businesses, their data sets and their profitability. I don't believe that this offers any real benefit to customers, but you will no doubt pull off the same illusory trick, so often used before, to fool everyone into letting you harvest all that lovely personal data! Only then to become evil gate-keepers of our individual daily drudgery.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The potential of facial recognition technology to make me incredibly rich is just beginning to be realized," he added.

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Interesting argument

    "Italian regulators have fined the biz millions of dollars and Canadian watchdogs have banned its public agencies from contracting with the company."

    "The UK's Information Commissioner's Office issued a £7.5 million ($9.43 million) fine for violating the country's data privacy laws"

    "the company believes its technology is beneficial despite risks of misidentification or issues of data privacy and security. "Facial recognition can be used to help prevent identity theft and fraud."

    So breaking the law is OK if it supports law enforcement?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Interesting argument

      Fines are just the cost of doing business, and that's because the size of the fine does not increase exponentially with repeats.

      I would favor a system where, the first time you are fined for a given problem, you get the standard amount to pay. If you are fined again for the same thing (for a relative value of same), the fine is automatically doubled, and so on and so forth.

      With that system, the cost of doing business would soon become prohibitive, and slimy gits like Clearview's boss would just have to bow before authority.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Big Brother

      @Mike 137 -- Re: Interesting argument

      So breaking the law is OK if it supports law enforcement?

      Same as it ever was....

  6. tip pc Silver badge

    These guys need to be stopped

    Clearview promised to stop giving or selling access to its database system to most private companies and organizations across the US. Public agencies and law enforcement, however, can still use its large database. Private sector businesses, instead, can only use data they provide to the company's facial-recognition software; ie, they have to provide their own database of photos. Clearview is also not allowed to use that data to add to its database.

    I don’t believe a word of that.

    I hate censorship but these guys are building systems to censor ordinary citizens without citizens being able to challenge them.

  7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge


    At the very least, all those images are copyright. Copyright is inherent in the creation process and assigned, by default, to the creator. Use, without consent, in a commercial way is prohibited. I wonder how many of the 20 billion images are being used with consent?

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Copyright?

      Came here to say the same thing. 20 billion copywrite violations could prove to be quite expensive.

    2. Plest Silver badge

      Re: Copyright?

      "Photographs, illustrations and other images will generally be protected by copyright as artistic works. This means that a user will usually need the permission of the copyright owner(s) if they want to perform certain acts, such as copying the image or sharing it on the internet."

      Source: UK Gov Copyright

      "Personality Rights. No image or representation of your appearance or voice can be used to promote an organization, product or cause without your permission. "

      Source: US Copyright

      So basicaly Clearview are absolute scum and should not be tolerated. Sadly we know that a ton of Government PHBs will be salivating at the prospect of all that cash in exchange for selling our images to that piece of shit company that kids itself and its shareholders that it's somehow progressing humanity and security.

  8. The Central Scrutinizer

    Are we sure his surname isn't Arse Hat?

  9. Howard Sway Silver badge

    database contains more than 20 billion photos scraped from public social media

    Because there's no more safe and trustworthy way to securely verify somebody's identity than blindly associating them with a random photo that someone posted on Facebook is there?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    emm, I think they owe me £100 million

    As I consider my image is worth £100 Million, they had better not be storing or using it.

    Where do I send the bill?

  11. nintendoeats Silver badge

    Beware the savage joe...

  12. msobkow Silver badge

    ClearviewAI is welcome to take an unlubricated pineapple and perform unspeakable acts upon themselves with it... :)

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Look what you made me went and did - - - - ->

      Thanks! I needed a good laugh today. Enjoy the upvote. (I'd offer a pint, but I don't know how to get two icons on a post.)

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    A hundred and fifty years ago

    Criminals began to be photographed for future identification. They took to a policy of pulling faces to distort their mugshots.

    Presumably, the entire population now needs to ensure that they appear in no photographs looking normal...

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: A hundred and fifty years ago

      Presumably, the entire population now needs to ensure that they appear in no photographs looking normal...

      But, but, but...wouldn't them not looking normal become normal?

      Owwww, that hurts my head...

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: A hundred and fifty years ago

        KN95 masks help with that (and other things)

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