Clearview AI has developed a facial recognition technology that might have spotted you by now. The company’s software skims through public images that are available on social media and uses them to help law enforcement identify wanted individuals by matching their public images with those found in government databases or surveillance footage. According to Politico, the company received permission from a U.S. federal patent for this just now.
The company has some controversy revolving around it. It has faced opposition from people who value their privacy and from several civil rights groups. People state that it used others’ pictures without their permission or knowledge. The groups raised the concern that the facial recognition technology is notoriously inclined to racially-based errors that lead to wrong identification of women and minorities than white men. This may end up in making wrong arrests.
However, the company has stated that not a single false arrest has been made based on its AI. Also, a recent audit by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology found it to be highly accurate.
Legislators and regulators are overwhelmed with advances in technology these days. Hence, it is hard to bring legislation on everything being introduced these days. “Facial recognition technology is metastasizing throughout the federal government, and I am deeply concerned about this trend towards increased surveillance,” privacy hawk Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in an email to Politico.
Despite the concerns raised, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has already sent the patent to Clearview, and it will be made official once the firm pays administrative fees. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are already using this technology.