There are reports that Clearview AI is close to obtaining a US patent for its contentious facial recognition technology—just a bank transfer away.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has reportedly sent Clearview AI a “notice of allowance,” according to Politico. The message indicates that upon payment of the administration fees, the patent will be awarded.
One of the most potent facial recognition systems available globally is provided by Clearview AI. Following the US Capitol raid, Clearview AI claimed a 26% increase in police use of its facial recognition technology.
The issue with Clearview AI is that, aside from a few possible linkages to extremist websites, its system utilizes more than 10 billion images that are taken from internet profiles without the users’ express authorization.
“A face-privacy right has never been recognized by common law,” Tor Ekeland, a lawyer at Clearview AI, once stated. Notably, Ekeland became known as “The Troll’s Lawyer” after representing clients that included Andrew Auernheimer, a self-described neo-Nazi troll.
“Unfair And Unreasonable Intrusion”
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ordered Clearview AI to stop processing personal data on British individuals and destroy whatever data it possessed, with a potential fine of slightly over £17 million. The order was issued last month.
According to leaked documents, the National Crime Agency, the Ministry of Defense, the Metropolitan Police, and other police constabularies, including those in Surrey, North Yorkshire, Suffolk, and Northamptonshire, tested Clearview AI’s system. It is reported that the system is no longer being tested or deployed in the UK.
“Technology providers must ensure people’s legal protections are respected and complied with to enjoy public trust and confidence in their products. UK data protection legislation does not stop the effective use of technology to fight crime,” UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the UK jointly conducted an investigation into Cleaview AI’s operations, which led to the UK’s judgment.
The OAIC came to the same conclusion as the ICO earlier this month and directed Clearview AI to stop collecting biometric data on Australians and destroy any that it had already gathered.
Australia’s Information Commissioner Angelene Falk stated, “I consider that the act of uploading an image to a social media site does not unambiguously indicate agreement to collection of that image by an unknown third party for commercial purposes.”
According to Falk, “it is unfair and unreasonable that this kind of sensitive information is being collected covertly.” “People, especially vulnerable groups like children and crime victims, whose images can be searched on Clearview AI’s database, are at serious risk of harm from it.”
The initial patent was about the “utilization of extensive internet data”.
Clearview AI received cease-and-desist letters from prominent online businesses like Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Venmo, requesting that the company stop stealing images and data from their sites.
Hoan Ton-That, the founder of Clearview AI, is adamantly proud of the mass data-scraping technology his company has developed and feels it is essential to combating illegal operations like human trafficking. According to the company, they may also utilize the program to learn more about someone they recently met, whether it be for business or dating.
In an interview with Politico, Ton-That stated, “There are other facial recognition patents out there—that are methods of doing it—but this is the first around the use of large-scale internet data.”
Human rights organizations have expressed disapproval of the impending move to patent Clearview AI, arguing that it amounts to patenting human rights violations.