It doesn’t seem like anyone from Clearview AI is getting their stories straight, and the rising evidence of misinformation is fueling legal repercussions. BuzzFeed News has acquired emails encouraging law enforcement to take the creepy facial recognition AI out for a spin on friends and family. The news outlet also reports disparate numbers of the startup’s law enforcement contracts as well as legal consequences from states and Twitter.
“Run wild” — After insisting its software, which pulls photos from social media, was only meant for law enforcement, Clearview is facing some receipts that say otherwise. BuzzFeed News shared emails that encouraged law enforcement to “run wild” with the software outside of work to “see what it can do.” Additionally, a blog post from Monday claimed that members of law enforcement needed to be cleared to use the software, but an email from last September indicated the existence of an “Invite Users” button.
Outside of law enforcement, several private companies reportedly use the software. A bank was confirmed to use Clearview when dealing with fraudulent checks and there are strong suspicions that casinos have also leveraged the software.
The long arm of the law — As more information comes out, Clearview has found itself squarely on the wrong side of the law. An Illinois lawsuit is seeking class-action status to go after the company for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. Cease and desist orders were also doled out by Twitter and the New Jersey attorney general’s office for scraping users’ media.
On Monday, 40 advocacy groups wrote to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, looping in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees as well as both congressional Homeland Security committees. The letter requests the suspension of federal use of facial recognition and specifically names Clearview.