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Clearview takes a photo then finds EVERYTHING about you

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:37 pm
Author: Anthea
Clearview app lets
strangers find you

It may not be long before you'll have to forget about walking down the street anonymously, says a New York Times report

"Just a face in the crowd." That figure of speech may one day need a footnote to explain it.
James Martin/CNET

What if a stranger could snap your picture on the sidewalk, then use an app to quickly discover your name, address and other details? A startup called Clearview AI has made that possible, and its app is being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the US, including the FBI, according to a Saturday report in The New York Times.

The app, says the Times, works by comparing a photo to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it's scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there other info could be dug up online.

The size of the Clearview database dwarfs others in use by law enforcement. The FBI's own database, which taps passport and driver's license photos, is one of the largest, with over 641 million images of US citizens.

The Clearview app isn't available to the public, but the Times says police officers and Clearview investors think it will be in the future.

The startup said in a statement Tuesday that its "technology is intended only for use by law enforcement and security personnel. It is not intended for use by the general public."

Law enforcement officers say they've used the app to solve crimes from shoplifting to child sexual exploitation to murder. But privacy advocates warn that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and others. They've also warned that facial recognition technologies in general could be used to conduct mass surveillance.

Regulation of facial recognition technology is up in the air in the US. A few cities, including San Francisco, have banned its use, but there aren't yet any federal laws.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee held its third hearing on facial recognition, as lawmakers look to address the tech's use in public spaces by both private companies and government agencies. "We're going to have to really grapple with what are the parameters of protecting privacy and controlling the use of this technology," Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia, said at the hearing.

In November, two senators introduced a bipartisan bill that would limit how agencies like the FBI and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement could use the tech. "Facial recognition technology can be a powerful tool for law enforcement officials," one of the senators, Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, said in a statement at the time. "But its very power also makes it ripe for abuse."

The FBI didn't immediately have a comment.

Jan. 21 ... port-says/

Re: Clearview app finds your name and info with quick photo

PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:54 pm
Author: Anthea
Clearview AI finds
everything about you

    and your friends

Clearview AI's creepy plan to spy on us is not 'free speech'

Law enforcement agencies around the world are enthusiastically adopting the services of Clearview AI, a tech company whose powerful software scrapes several billion open-source images for the purposes of facial recognition.

As the company confronts mounting criticism over its disturbing surveillance practices, its chief executive, Hoan Ton-That, is rolling out an audacious new defense: he claims that Clearview’s practices are protected by the first amendment. Ton-That’s upside-down views of civil liberties are, it seems, just as Orwellian as his company’s surveillance apparatus.

Fortunately, he is dead wrong. The constitution does not shield Clearview AI from accountability. We can, and must, pass laws to limit it and other facial recognition systems.

Facial recognition is extremely dangerous. It offers us the horrible choice between dysfunction and dystopia. On the one hand, studies have repeatedly shown that facial recognition can have serious accuracy problems, especially for people of color.

Even when these systems do work, however, they give the government unprecedented power to catalog and track the activities and interactions of people everywhere. No wonder the technology is employed most frequently by authoritarian states like China, which reportedly uses facial recognition to spy on its persecuted Muslim minority.

The unrestricted use of facial recognition technology is clearly incompatible with a democratic society. The first amendment does not give companies the unassailable right to engage in “speech” that involves sending out the intimate details of our lives.

Laws have existed for decades which prevent companies from sharing sensitive user information – for example, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits companies from voluntarily sharing the contents of our text messages or emails, except for narrow exceptions such as emergencies.

Phone companies have long been prohibited from handing out or selling our phone records, and more recent rules similarly prohibit the sale of our phones’ GPS data (although lax FCC enforcement has caused serious harm).

Just because images or information were hypothetically obtained from public sources doesn’t totally nullify our right to privacy. The supreme court recently ruled that the fourth amendment bars the police from tracking our cellphone locations without a warrant, even when you are traveling in public.

And just as the fourth amendment already protects us from warrantless cellphone tracking, future laws can guard us from facial recognition surveillance technologies that effortlessly catalog our location in much the same way.

Ton-That specifically defended his company’s ability to scrape our public photos off social media. Web scraping isn’t always bad – academics, researchers, and journalists all employ scraping in highly beneficial ways. But we don’t need to totally ban scraping in order to stop bad actors like Clearview AI. We can enact policies that limit how our personal data is shared and used.

We must pass laws that restrict facial recognition technologies, both in the private sector and when used by government. Attempts to defend mass surveillance under the auspices of free speech are misguided at best and sinister at worst. All Americans should push back. ... technology