Clearview’s internet-as-facial recognition reference database concept to be granted patent
The core concept behind Clearview AI, that of using all public images on the internet as a reference database for facial recognition searches, is about to be granted as a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent application for ‘Methods for providing information about a person based on facial recognition’ was published back in February, with its hints at private sector biometrics applications in verticals like retail and real estate drew attention. Clearview CEO and Co-founder Hoan Ton That has said on multiple occasions since that the company does not intend to offer its technology to the private sector.
Instead, Clearview’s technology is used by law enforcement at various levels. Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote in an email to Politico that “(f)acial recognition technology is metastasizing throughout the federal government, and I am deeply concerned about this trend towards increased surveillance.”
“There are other facial recognition patents out there — that are methods of doing it — but this is the first one around the use of large-scale internet data,” Ton-That told Politico.
Ton-That also noted the company’s database now holds over 10 billion photos, and expressed the importance of unbiased technology to him “as a person of mixed race.”
Now Clearview has received a ‘notice of allowance’ from the USPTO, setting up a grant of the patent once all the associated fees have been paid.