Clearview AI is in the process of receiving a US patent for its facial recognition technology, according to a report by Politics. The company has reportedly received a “notice of permission” from the US Patent and Trademark Office, which means that once it pays the required administration fees, its patent will be formally approved.
Clearview AI builds its facial recognition database using images of people it scratches on social media (and the Internet in general), a practice that has caused controversy for the company. The company’s patent application details its use of a “web crawler” to acquire images, even noting that “online photos associated with a person’s account can help create additional point records. facial recognition data ”, which its machine learning algorithm can then use to find and identify matches.
Critics argue that Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology is an invasion of privacy and can negatively impact minority communities. The technology is said to be less accurate when identifying people of color and women, which could lead to false arrests when used by law enforcement.
Last year, the company said its technology was used by more than 2,400 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, to identify suspects. In the aftermath of the Capitol Riots in January, Clearview AI said law enforcement’s use of its technology increased sharply as detectives scrambled to identify those associated with the incident.
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the company last year for violating Illinois’ biometric privacy law, which led Clearview to stop the sale of its technology to private companies and corporations. non-law enforcement entities. In November, the Australian government ordered the company to clear its database of all its citizens, and earlier this year a number of European agencies filed complaints against Clearview AI. In addition, a Canadian privacy commissioner called the company’s technology “illegal mass surveillance.”
Clearview AI hasn’t even been able to be on the safe side of Big Tech. Last year, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube all sent cease and desist letters demanding that the company stop removing images and videos from platforms as this practice is in violation of individual site policies. .