Patent filing for controversial facial recognition technology from Clearview AI

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Used by law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and Homeland Security, Clearview AI’s system feeds its databases with billions of images by scouring social media sites and collecting images without people’s consent. has been criticized for having The company says the images it collects are in the public domain and should be fair game. But the approach prompted cancellation and withdrawal letters from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

Clearview AI, the company behind a controversial facial recognition system that scours social media sites and adds photos of people to its database, is seeking to patent its technology. The company confirmed Saturday that the US Trademark and Patent Office has sent a letter of approval. This means that Clearview’s application will allow the company to pay administrative fees. News of the notice was reported by Politico early Saturday, with critics concerned the grant of patents could speed up the development of similar technologies before lawmakers have no time to deal with them.


  • Critics say apps and other consumer versions of such technology can trick passers-by into taking pictures with their smartphones and revealing your personal information. Politico notes that the Clearview AI patent application contains language suggesting uses other than police identification of suspects. “In many cases, it may be desirable to learn more about a person you meet through commerce, dating, or other relationships,” the patent application said, adding traditional methods such as questions and the Internet. increase. Searches and ongoing background his checks may fail.

  • Officials from Australia, the UK and Canada have also called the company about privacy laws. Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That said the company’s system was designed to identify suspected criminals, not as a surveillance tool, and that Clearview is working with policymakers to He said he was working on “managing” the technology. The company told CNET on Saturday that it “has no intention of developing a consumer version of Clearview AI.”

The system had particular problems recognizing people of color and women. Privacy advocates also worry about the ability to suppress dissent, for example by monitoring political demonstrations and protests. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials say the system is being used to solve crimes ranging from shoplifting to child sexual exploitation to murder.

“Thus, there is a strong need for improved methods and systems for obtaining information about individuals and for selectively providing information based on predetermined criteria.” Facial recognition systems have generally been criticized for being inaccurate and can lead to false arrests and other problems.

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