Facial recognition firm Clearview AI is facing a potential class-action lawsuit, while simultaneously being banned from being used by NJ police, according to separate reports by the New York Times (NYT) and CNET.
The NYT is reporting that Clearview has found itself in hot water with the New Jersey attorney general over its main promotional video it was running on its website. The video showed Attorney General and two state troopers at a press conference detailing an operation to apprehend 19 men accused of trying to lure children for sex, an operation that Clearview took at least partial responsibility for.
Mr. Grewal was not impressed with Clearview using his likeness in its promotional material, or in the potential legal and ethical issues the service poses.
“Until this week, I had not heard of Clearview AI,” Mr. Grewal said in an interview. “I was troubled. The reporting raised questions about data privacy, about cybersecurity, about law enforcement security, about the integrity of our investigations.”
Mr. Grewal was also concerned about the company sharing details of ongoing investigations.
“I was surprised they used my image and the office to promote the product online,” Mr. Grewal continued, while also acknowledging that Clearview had been used to identify one of the suspects. “I was troubled they were sharing information about ongoing criminal prosecutions.”
As a result of his concerns, Mr. Grewal has told state prosecutors in NJ’s 21 counties that police should not use the app.
At the same time, CNET is reporting an individual has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois East Division and is seeking class-action status.
“Without obtaining any consent and without notice, Defendant Clearview used the internet to covertly gather information on millions of American citizens, collecting approximately three billion pictures of them, without any reason to suspect any of them of having done anything wrong, ever,” alleges the complaint. “Clearview used artificial intelligence algorithms to scan the facial geometry of each individual depicted in the images, a technique that violates multiple privacy laws.”
It was only a matter of time before Clearview faced the fallout from its actions. It appears that fallout is happening sooner rather than later.