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A facial recognition company scraped billion of photos from sites like Facebook and YouTube

And it’s using the data to help law enforcement agencies.

Crowd of people with data points over their heads via facial recognition
Image: KnowTechie

A new facial recognition startup might just be the scariest yet, according to an investigation carried out by the New York Times. That’s because their database of images is the largest yet, and their tech can identify you even if you have part of your face covered.

The company’s name? Clearview AI.

That picture you posted to Facebook years ago might just come back to bite you thanks to this facial recognition company

The database searched by Clearview AI could have any picture you uploaded to the internet, from innocent selfies to drunken nights out. The FBI is trying it out, as is the Department of Homeland Security, and other law enforcement agencies in Canada. Could this be the end of public privacy? I mean, if all you need is a photo taken of a passer-by to run a search, that’s a worrying thought.

  • Clearview AI was initially funded by Peter Thiel, Facebook board member and co-founder of PayPal and Palantir, amongst others
  • It has a database of over 3 billion images for its facial recognition tech to run on, more than even the FBI. Most of these were scraped from social media, in clear violation of the various sites terms and conditions of use
  • The facial recognition can even identify you if you try to obstruct your face
  • According to Clearview AI, over 600 law enforcement agencies have started to use their services in the last year

Big yikes so far, but that’s just the beginning… The startup wants to tie its facial recognition software to AR glasses and other wearables, bringing us one step closer to the dystopian future of movies such as Minority Report.

What do you think? Surprised that such a database exists? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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