(Will Knight | Wired) – Clearview AI has stoked controversy by scraping the web for photos and applying facial recognition to give police and others an unprecedented ability to peer into our lives. Now the company’s CEO wants to use artificial intelligence to make Clearview’s surveillance tool even more powerful.
It may make it more dangerous and error-prone as well.
Clearview has collected billions of photos from across websites that include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and uses AI to identify a particular person in images. Police and government agents have used the company’s face database to help identify suspects in photos by tying them to online profiles.
The company’s cofounder and CEO, Hoan Ton-That, tells WIRED that Clearview has now collected more than 10 billion images from across the web—more than three times as many as has been previously reported.
Ton-That says the larger pool of photos means users, most often law enforcement, are more likely to find a match when searching for someone. He also claims the larger data set makes the company’s tool more accurate.
Clearview combined web-crawling techniques, advances in machine learning that have improved facial recognition, and a disregard for personal privacy to create a surprisingly powerful tool.
Ton-That demonstrated the technology through a smartphone app by taking a photo of the reporter. The app produced dozens of images from numerous US and international websites, each showing the correct person in images captured over more than a decade. The allure of such a tool is obvious, but so is the potential for it to be misused.
Clearview’s actions sparked public outrage and a broader debate over expectations of privacy in an era of smartphones, social media, and AI. Critics say the company is eroding personal privacy. The ACLU sued Clearview in Illinois under a law that restricts the collection of biometric information; the company also faces class action lawsuits in New York and California. Facebook and Twitter have demanded that Clearview stop scraping their sites.
The pushback has not deterred Ton-That. He says he believes most people accept or support the idea of using facial recognition to solve crimes. “The people who are worried about it, they are very vocal, and that’s a good thing, because I think over time we can address more and more of their concerns,” he says. Read Full Article >