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Clearview AI’s US law enforcement facial recognition footprint grows with FBI contract

Clearview AI’s US law enforcement facial recognition footprint grows with FBI contract

The latest U.S law enforcement sign up for Clearview AI’s facial recognition-as-a-service app is a modest $18,000, one-year contract, spotted by Jack Poulson of Tech Inquiry, but is noteworthy for the customer.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) signed the investigative biometrics deal with Clearview on December 30, 2021. The agency was known to have previously used Clearview, but had not publicly disclosed a paying customer relationship.

Clearview began to establish its facial recognition in local law enforcement departments by early-2020, and also has contracts with federal agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). That early contract was followed by another with ICE that could pay the company up to $2 million.

CyberScoop claims to count 20 federal law enforcement contracts that could be worth up to $7 million altogether that seem to be for facial recognition since June. Senator Ron Wyden (D.-Ore.) said the deal represents the government agency “us(ing) its credit card to end-run Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

Predictably, the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (S.T.O.P.) has condemned the deal for threatening civil rights and undermining democracy, and renewed its call for a federal ban on the use of facial recognition. The group implies that the use of facial recognition to identify only three people from the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol Building shows the technology’s benefit is outweighed by its risks to civil rights.

“While we cannot provide specifics on these cases, it is gratifying that Clearview AI has been used to identify the Capitol rioters who attacked our great symbol of democracy,” Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That commented to Biometric Update in an email. “We are also honored help the FBI triple their rate of identifying victims of child abuse and help bring those child abusers to justice.”

This post was updated at 7:25pm Eastern on January 18, 2022 to include the comments of Clearview’s CEO.

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