What is Clearview AI? | A facial recognition technology you should know about

by Precious Cyprain
4 mins read
Clearview AI facial recognition

Clearview AI is a facial recognition technology company that renders its software and services to law enforcement, companies, individuals and colleges. The company was founded by Hoan Ton-That and Richard Schwartz in 2017. Clearview has its headquarters based in Manhattan, New York City, United States. 

Clearview AI has a database containing more than 30 billion images obtained from social media apps and the internet without users’ permission. The company’s algorithm compares faces to the images available on the database. The company became popularly known late in 2019 after its usage by law enforcement was broadcast.  

The company utilizes different platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and obtains photos of users from them. They add it to their database and sell it to different agencies. This process breaches the terms and conditions of most of these platforms.  

The collection of images from social media platforms without users’ consent has led Clearview to be fined repeatedly millions of dollars for breaches of privacy. In 2020, Twitter requested the deletion of all its data collected by Clearview, with similar actions also requested by YouTube and Facebook.  

The founder mentioned that Clearview’s facial recognition technology has run up to a million searches for the US police. The police use Clearview AI to match the photos of criminal suspects to billions of face images collected on its database. Then, links to where matching images appeared are provided. 

clearview ai facial recognition

With its accurate results and services, Clearview AI is considered to be one of the best facial recognition companies in the world with its software that can ID just anyone. Its app can also be downloaded on smartphones and used to instantaneously get the identity of unknown people.  

Clearview provides law enforcement agencies access to its database including the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This was their initial goal until reports were spread on Clearview having a wider range of clients including friends of the founders, retailers, investors, commercial organizations, etc.  

However, in May 2022, things changed after Clearview agreed to settle a lawsuit made by the American Civil Liberties Union, in which it was not allowed to sell its facial recognition software database to individuals and private businesses. This made Clearview AI facial photo database limited to government law enforcement agencies. 

The government agencies pay as much as $50,000 for a two-year deal.  

Clearview AI Mission 

Clearview’s mission is to decrease significantly the rate of fraud, crimes and risks, to make the community and commerce more secure and safe.  

Its accurate and bias-free facial recognition platform protects individuals, families and communities, making them feel safer. The services enable law enforcement to decipher criminal-related crimes and obtain suspects, and also help financial, transportation and commercial institutions to confirm identities and prevent identity and financial fraud.  

Attributes of Clearview Facial Recognition Technology  

  • Scalable: It provides scalable pricing to enable the efficiency of agencies and organizations to achieve its mission. 
  • Proven: Clearview’s services are relied on by government law agencies even in delicate situations. Its AI is trained on the largest dataset. 
  • Precise: Clearview AI facial recognition ranks #1 in the United States and the Western world out of more than 600 algorithms tested by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). 
  • Secure: It has the top certification of all US-based companies for data security and cybersecurity procedures and policies. 
  • Accuracy: Clearview AI has an accuracy of 99% for all demographics.  
  • Powerful: It can detect if a photo is of a real person or is digitally generated. It can also identify and match the faces of masked subjects. The image enhancement feature helps to enhance the results of low-quality images.  

Pros of Clearview AI 

  • Improving public safety: The investigative platform helps with the swift generation of leads by law enforcement to identify crime suspects, victims and witnesses. This helps to decipher and close cases faster thereby ensuring safer communities. 
  • Securing facilities, people and commerce: Clearview developer API offers a top-quality algorithm for unbiased, fast and accurate identification to enable a safer and more secure everyday transaction.  
  • Organized investigations: The same or different persons of interest involved in the same investigation can undergo multiple searches using Clearview AI. Searches can also be saved along with notifications that alert us whenever there are new images that match face images that were previously searched. 

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