Virtually unknown until last January, the company Clearview I HAVE is the idea of a young australian of vietnamese origin, Hoan Ton-That, which, according to the New York Times, left in 2007 the university in Australia to move to San Francisco.
After having designed a few apps that have made white cabbage, it was even sought by the police for created worms, and phishing sites to 2009, according to Wikipedia.
With two engineers, his company’s output of the anonymity by the end of 2017 mission to collect all the photos of people on the Internet to compare with algorithms of facial recognition.
At the head as president and CEO of Clearview IA, Ton-That ” proclaims that its software is only a tool for law enforcement to help law enforcement to resolve investigations difficult, such as murders, assaults and violence of all kinds and cases of sexual exploitation of children.
Concretely, Clearview can put a name to a photo otherwise anonymous taken from a surveillance camera.
But beautiful intentions stop there.
Billions of photos
Although the tools of facial recognition are not available to the public, Clearview’VE had for clients of the major organs of security of the United States (Customs and Border Protection, FBI, hundreds of local police services), according to the survey of BuzzFeed News. Even the individuals within these organizations may, without restrictions, to dig into the image banks of Clearview from a photo taken from a surveillance camera.
In an interview last January, Hoan Ton-That told the NYTimes that his company worked with 600 police agencies across the country.
But the client list does not stop there. Example among many others, the 5 march last, the NYTimes publishes the billionaire John Catsimatidis, anxious to see his daughter out with a stranger in a restaurant, has appealed to the photo archives of Clearview after photographing by the server the new flirt of it. Quickly, he knew that this young man was not a charlatan, but an entrepreneur from San Francisco.
No offense to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google
Since its an update, Clearview now has a bank of more than 3 billion photos retrieved from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google and other Web giants.
Before these invasions, these same giants have launched the Clearview – what is called in legal jargon, american –, orders of cease-and-desist, demanding the cessation of systematic archaeological excavations of the photos by the company of Ton-That on the networks. Lawsuits have also been filed against it in Illinois and Virginia.
According to documents obtained by BuzzFeed, “the software Clearview, which claims to match photos of people of interest to online images from millions of sites, has been used by people in more than 2200 police services, government agencies and businesses in 27 countries.
These data provide the most complete picture to date of people who have used this technology controversial, and reveal what some observers feared before : the facial recognition of Clearview HAVE been deployed at all levels of american society and made its way into the world.”
A full profile in less than a minute
In another article of the march 12, on BuzzFeed, not only the facial recognition software is being used by the forces of law and order, but also by political groups-the conservatives, potential investors and other organizations that have been designated as “friends”.
And according to BuzzFeed, a country widely denounced for their violations of human rights, such as saudi Arabia and the united arab Emirates, have also had access to the services of the facial recognition of Clearview.
On the website OnezeroMedium.com the author Thomas Smith was able to obtain in less than a minute, his profile complete with articles he has published as far as 2012, its page Facebook, the Web pages of an old group of coders that he has forgotten for ages, and messages from the personal blog that is mounted by him and his wife.
To conclude, the title of the NYTimes summarizes well what is Clearview: The secret society could put an end to privacy as we know it (The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It).
No doubt, Clearview has not yet finished talking about it.
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