In further proof that Clearview AI can’t be trusted, BuzzFeed News is reporting the facial recognition firm is planning on selling its services to authoritarian regimes.
Clearview claims to have scraped over 3 billion photos from millions of websites, including the major social media platforms. The company then makes those photos available, in a searchable database, to hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country.
According to BuzzFeed, “a document obtained via a public records request reveals that Clearview has been touting a ‘rapid international expansion’ to prospective clients using a map that highlights how it either has expanded, or plans to expand, to at least 22 more countries, some of which have committed human rights abuses.”
Three of the countries are the United Arab Emirates, which is known for cracking down on dissidents, as well as Qatar and Singapore, both of which have far more restrictive human rights laws than Western countries.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Albert Fox Cahn, a fellow at New York University and the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, expressed concern about the implications of the software being used by oppressive regimes.
“It’s deeply alarming that they would sell this technology in countries with such a terrible human rights track record, enabling potentially authoritarian behavior by other nations,” he said.
Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That has been defending his company amid growing scrutiny and concern over the legality and ethics of its behavior. The New Jersey Attorney General recently enacted a moratorium on police departments using the company’s service. Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube have sent cease-and-desist letters to Clearview. Now, as lawmakers increasingly turn their attention toward the company, it’s a safe bet this latest news will not help Clearview’s case.