Even if big tech companies like Amazon limit the sale of facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies, some don’t. Clearview AI is a face recognition search engine that contains 3 billion images obtained from the Internet. The company says more than 3,000 US law enforcement agencies have adopted software that uses advanced algorithms to
Even if big tech companies like Amazon limit the sale of facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies, some don’t. Clearview AI is a face recognition search engine that contains 3 billion images obtained from the Internet.
The company says more than 3,000 US law enforcement agencies have adopted software that uses advanced algorithms to identify and match faces.
“It works very much like Google, but if you enter a photo of your face instead of words, you’ll find everything that looks like that face on the Internet,” says Hoan Ton-That. CEO and co-founder of the company.
Police claim that facial recognition software is an important tool in combating and resolving crime. However, the increase in its use raises concerns that police have too few rules about when and how they can use it.
Limit the scope of the software
Police are usually free to use image search engines to extract driver’s license photos and other photos from police records.
In contrast, Clearview AI collects billions of images from social media sites and other websites, and says Internet companies have acquired them by breaking the rules.
Clearview AI Ton-That is, the company only gets publicly available information.
In one case, a federal agent could: Identify men suspected of being sexually abused A photo of a girl who uses a single image from the “dark web”, an area of the internet accessible only by special software, and matches it through Clearview AI.
“He was in the gym and in the background of someone’s photo in the mirror,” Tonzat said. “They were able to identify where Jim was and who they were. He was finally put in jail for 35 years and saved a 7-year-old child.”
Tools for law enforcement
According to Ton-That, the software also helped federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies identify suspects who attacked the US Capitol in January.
In a sense, Clearview AI, which created databases from people’s social media accounts and other public parts of the Internet, can help with this large-scale investigation of people whose mugshots are not always in police databases. He said it was very suitable.
Police were able to find matching photos of some suspects online, using Clearview AI, which runs for about a second per search, he said.
“Therefore, they were able to identify them quickly, reduce many false positives and speed up the investigation process,” he said.
How about your privacy?
When police violent protests struck the United States last year, Amazon and other tech companies stopped selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, the suspension they said was indefinite.
Clearview AI continues to be sold to law enforcement agencies, and Internet companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter and civil rights advocates are warning about its power and potential abuse of people’s privacy.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the company in Chicago and California.
Kate Ruane, senior legislative adviser to the ACLU, said facial recognition technology raises government concerns that “we can monitor us through all aspects of our lives.”
Federal, state, and local governments “acknowledge that they are using it, but they don’t tell us how, when, and how often,” she says. ..
She said that surveillance and regulation are needed, but until then she wants a full moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies.
Legislation and regulation
In recent months, parliamentary leaders have submitted legislation restricting police use of purchase data “illegally obtained” due to fraud or contract breach.
Ton of Clearview-It agrees that there is a need for more transparency and even regulation regarding the use of technology. But what about banning police from using Clearview?
“Given the success of our technology in resolving crime, especially crime against children, enacting a moratorium or ban on facial recognition or Clearview AI products is counterproductive and inappropriate,” he said.
Ton-That has a code of conduct for customers, with prompts built into the software to help law enforcement customers prevent misuse of the software.
Use of face recognition technology by oppressive government
ACLU and other civil rights groups are also concerned about the impact of this technology on the hands of oppressive governments like China.
“The impact is horrific, and we’re trying to track citizens in every aspect of our lives, especially in China,” said ACLU’s Kate Luang.
Tonzat says his company does not sell software to foreign governments and is currently focusing on US law enforcement.
“We have occasionally collaborated with several other private sectors for research purposes, but decided to focus on law enforcement,” he said. “This is the simplest, most explainable, and best use case of our technology.”
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