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The Clearview aihatmaker is a firm that is making the world more secure through facial recognition technology. They have recently signed a contract with ICE, which will help them scale their services internationally. But they are facing some legal challenges. Their facial recognition accuracy is not as reliable as they would like it to be and there are also some issues with their ICE contract.
This year, the facial recognition firm of Clearview AI scored a $224,000 contract with ICE. This isn’t your typical government contractor, but ICE has been mired in controversy for its southern border detaining practices and family separations. Clearly, the organization wants to make its mark.
Clearview isn’t the first or last time the government has tasked one of its techies with a task. The company has also been tasked with a number of other responsibilities. While it’s no secret that ICE is responsible for arresting and detaining countless undocumented migrants, the organization has recently been criticized for its tinkering with drivers’ licenses. As a result, the company has been under a bit of a microscope. Luckily, Clearview has been more than willing to share its best practices. Indeed, the company re-examined its processes, and made improvements aplenty.
For instance, the company has been able to avoid transacting with non-government customers. Several ICE offices, including ones in Cherry Hill and El Paso, Texas have been known to use Clearview to a T. In fact, the organization has even deployed the technology to the US Virgin Islands. Earlier this year, the organization signed an exclusive multi-year deal with Clearview to conduct large-scale facial recognition operations in the region.
Legal challenges to its ability to scale internationally
Clearview claims to be the largest biometric database in the world. According to the company, it has captured more than three billion faceprints from online images. Despite its claims, the company has been caught a few times in the glare of the law.
The company has faced legal action from the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union and the state of Vermont. Earlier this month, Clearview settled a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Illinois relating to the use of its technology. The lawsuit alleged that the company amounted to a breach of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. In addition to the suit, Clearview was forced to stop selling its product to private US companies.
Aside from the lawsuit, Clearview has had to contend with a number of data protection authorities, including the Information Commissioner’s Office in Britain and the Hellenic Data Protection Authority. They have imposed hefty fines on the company. One of the more noteworthy edicts was that Clearview was ordered to remove any and all data it had collected from individuals without their consent. Another notable edict was that it was prohibited from using its technology in any capacity in New Jersey.
However, the company’s legal team was able to spin a relatively small settlement into a major victory.
Legal challenges to its accuracy of facial recognition tech
Facial recognition technology is becoming more prevalent in the United States. But some politicians, digital rights advocates and privacy activists are worried about its misuse. Some cities have banned it, while others have passed laws to regulate the use of such tools.
For several years, police departments have had access to facial recognition tools. Some have complained that their accuracy is limited, especially when recognizing women or people of color. They have also raised concerns over how much privacy is being lost when using these systems. In response, some lawmakers are calling for additional regulations.
The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has been testing face recognition vendors for the last fifteen years. It has two versions of the test: one for one-to-many searches and the other for verification. These tests have been criticized by academics and activists because they rely on a test group that is not representative of most Americans.
While NIST’s testing is voluntary, some government agencies aren’t required to submit their face recognition tools for testing. This has prompted an uptick in lawsuits against face recognition vendors, including Clearview.
Lawmakers have voiced concerns that facial recognition technology could be used to identify protesters or arrest people for crimes they didn’t commit. Activists have also raised concerns that Rekognition, a facial recognition tool from Amazon, is being used by police on darker-skinned people.