UPDATE: Since the publication of this story, Venmo and LinkedIn have sent out and closed letters, providing more information about its contact with Clearview AI and Facebook companies. These stories have been updated to reflect these changes.
Google, YouTube, Venmo and LinkedIn have sent out stopping and dropping letters. Clearview A.I., A facial recognition application that scrapes images of websites and social media platforms, CBS News has learned. Technology companies join Twitter, which is A similar letter sent in January, Tries to block the app from taking pictures on their platforms.
Clearview AI can detect a person by comparing their image to its three billion image database from the Internet, and the results are 99.6% accurate, CEO Huan Ton-Dat told CBS News correspondent Errol Burnett. Ton-Dat said the app is only for law enforcement to identify criminals
“You have to remember that it is only used for investigation after the fact. This is not a 24/7 surveillance system,” he said.
But Google-owned YouTube, as well as Venmo, LinkedIn and Twitter, said the company was violating its policies.
“YouTube’s Terms of Service explicitly prohibit the collection of data that can be used to identify an individual. Clearview has publicly acknowledged doing so, and in response we have sent a letter stopping them, “YouTube spokesman Alex Joseph said in a statement to CBS News.
Venmo and LinkedIn made similar statements to CBS News. “Scraping Venmo is a violation of our Terms of Service and we work proactively to limit and block activity that violates these policies,” Venmo said. “We are sending a closed and restricted letter to Clearview AI,” LinkedIn said. “Scraping member information is not allowed under our Terms of Service and we take steps to protect our members.”
In addition to the Clearview AI claiming to stop scraping content from Twitter, the social media platform claimed to have deleted all data already collected from Twitter, according to a piece of closed-and-ban letter provided to CBS News.
In a statement to CBS News, a Twitter spokesperson said, “Protecting and respecting the voice of the people who use our service is one of the core values of Twitter and we are committed to protecting their privacy.”
CBS News also learned that Facebook has sent multiple letters to Clearview asking for clear information about their practices, requesting detailed information about their practices, and claiming they have stopped using data from Facebook products. Although the company has continued to evaluate its options, no formal break and ban letter has been sent.
Ton-Thea argued that Clearview AI had the First Amendment rights to access public data. “The way we have built our system is to take the information available to the public and index it that way,” he said.
The company’s legal counsel had been dealing with the Twitter letter before receiving additional letters.
More than 600 law enforcement agencies in the United States use the software in accordance with Clearview. The agency does not say how many free trial subscriptions it has.
The Chicago Police Department, the largest in the United States, pays about 50,000 for a two-year contract with the agency. The department says that only 1 member has exclusive access to the technology and does not use face matching technology to handle facial surveillance.
“CPD uses the Facial Matching tool to sort the mugshot database and public source information during an investigation as a result of an incident or crime,” a statement said to CBS News.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurby Grewal recently ordered state law enforcement agencies to stop using technology if they didn’t learn much.
Asked what his concerns were about the technology, Grewal said, “I’m clearly not opposed to facial recognition technology. I think used correctly, it can help solve our criminal cases faster. It helps us arrest child abusers, domestic terrorists.” Could. ”
But he added, “What I am opposed to is the collection of large amounts of biometric information and the use of it without proper protection by law enforcement.”
Ton-O also argued that Clearview AI is essentially a search engine for faces. “Google can fetch information from all different websites,” he said. “So if it’s public and if it’s on the outside and inside the Google search engine, it might be inside us.”
But Joseph called the comparison “inaccurate.”
“Most websites want to be included in Google search, and we give webmasters control over what information from their site is included in our search results, with the option to opt-out completely. Clearview collects images of individuals without their consent and violates the rules. Obviously you are prevented from doing so “CBS News said in the statement.
Ton-Dat says that the technology used in the app will not be made available to the general public as long as he is running Clearview, but Wired editor-in-chief Nick Nixopson said that may not be so easy.
“Clearview says you may be concerned about our technology, but the police department has used it to capture terrorists and protect you,” Thompson says. “But if we can learn anything from the history of technology and the history of Silicon Valley, then the primary purpose is not the only use.”
ClearView AI keeps all images removed from their website, but The New York Times reported The company that is working on a tool that will ask people to remove these images.
One of our producers attended the demo and no match was found in the Clearview database. The producer’s social media accounts are set up individually. Ton-Thatt says, “There is no false positives. It didn’t bring anyone who looked like you.” “The CBS News crew tested the app and the search results came from its personal website. Ton-pre-crew did not have a name.
Additional reports by Gisela Perez and Hilary Cook.