Clearview AI wins a military facial recognition contract
A German-owned online news publisher has published documents reportedly revealing that a criminal investigation unit of the U.S. Army is using Clearview AI‘s facial recognition subscription service.
There are no prohibitions on Army use, but controversy surrounds Clearview.
It scrapes face images from social media services in violation of their use contracts, there are reports of police trying to hide their use the company’s biometric algorithms and it has been accused of being deceptive with its quality claims.
Business Insider touches on these and other concerns in its story about discounted subscriptions sold to the 502nd Military Police Battalion Criminal Intelligence Section. The unit is part of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, confusingly referred to as CID.
The command only investigates, it does not prosecute, and it works, under probably cause, on alleged crimes involving only potential victims and perpetrators who are in the military or work in military-related organizations.
Business Insider received confirmation from the command that its officers “had used Clearview AI’s technology for investigations.” Through it all, Clearview maintains its right to conduct its business, and that its business conduct is ethical.
A document that the publication obtained included a CID lead analyst’s argument in favor of a subscription. In document, a copy of which is published in the story, the analyst claims “an increase of 15%-25% success in positively identifying potential subject, victims and witnesses… .”
But as is a frequent occurrence with claims involving Clearview’s facial recognition subscription service, no evidence is offered in the analyst’s letter, and the command would not substantiate it.
The article goes on to point out other uncorroborated claims.
A company flyer, also shown in the article, says the biometric identification service was created specifically for crime and intelligence roles.
Another online news site, Buzzfeed, last year reported that Smartcheckr, a service that went on to become Clearview’s present service, was pitched to a white nationalist politician in Wisconsin for “extreme opposition research.”