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Clearview AI, the powerful facial recognition startup, let rich people and friends use its app

Everything is terrible.

facial recognition cameras monitoring surveillance
Image: Unsplash

We all know extremely wealthy people have a different set of rules than us “regular” folks. We also know that Clearview AI is a shady company that has already been dragged for its use of facial recognition tools.

Now, according to a new report from The New York Times, the powerful facial recognition software that was purportedly only for “law enforcement agencies and select security professionals”, was actually being shared and showed off to a variety of other people through an easy-to-use app.

The NYT report highlights a variety of these examples, noting that “those with Clearview logins used facial recognition at parties, on dates and at business gatherings, giving demonstrations of its power for fun or using it to identify people whose names they didn’t know or couldn’t recall.” The highlighted example in the story tells of a (billionaire) father seeing his daughter on a date and using the app to find out everything about them in almost no time at all.

So much for “law enforcement and security professionals,” huh?

According to the report, when Clearview was first getting started and working on luring in investors, it would give people logins to test out the software for themselves. This included venture capitalist David Scalzo, who said his two school-aged daughters enjoyed using the app. “They like to use it on themselves and their friends to see who they look like in the world. It’s kind of fun for people.” Just billionaires enjoying billionaire things.

As more information has come out about the company, social platforms have been quick to decry the company, with Facebook and Google both sending cease-and-desist notices to the company, but this is probably just the beginning.

Facial recognition is here to stay, so now it’s a matter of figuring out how (and if) it is possible to harness this type of technology without sacrificing the data and privacy and individuals.

What do you think? Does facial recognition and companies like Clearview AI worry you? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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