Clearview AI clients: Best Buy, Walmart, ICE, DOJ, FBI, 2,200+ companies and law enforcement agencies

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Clearview AI’s facial recognition… is making its way around the world.

Just like coronavirus.


Interesting and disturbing. I expected police departments and security companies - I wasn’t expecting Home Depot and Macy’s and AT&T or random high schools.

That most of the accounts are free accounts opened by individuals at companies and organizations that aren’t aware their employees are doing this muddies the waters quite a bit. Companies can claim they aren’t customers, despite having run thousands of searches, because the accounts were all run by individual employees, possibly having nothing to do with their jobs. (Because why would retailers and phone companies need this service?) Or these companies and organizations could be engaging in creepy surveillance shit, but without the approval (or concern) of any central authority.


lawsuits with bring these central authorities to heel.


Clearview’s technology may have even made it to the White House. Documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News include an entry for “White House Tech Office” with a single user, who logged in back in September 2019 to perform six searches.

This stuff is creepy as all hell, but I’m inclined to be skeptical of examples like this (as much as it pains me to say anything even remotely positive about the current White House). IT salespeople hate going through official channels. Running a charm offensive of free trials and free lunches on someone in the organization, deliberately chosen because they aren’t part of any official procurement function, is IT Salesperson 101. And for that person to then run a few searches on themselves and their friends doesn’t surprise me either. (Edited to add: not that this makes it “ok”, just that I don’t see this as damning the White House organization as a whole).

On the other side of spectrum, CBP running 7500 searches without a paid relationship (which means they almost certainly don’t have a contract which could otherwise give them some sort of oversight or audit rights in to Clearview’s business operations and security practices) is terrifying.

Decades ago I got a postcard from Macy’s addressed to a former roomate. It said that he owed a fine of $250 IIRC for shoplifting. My guess is that my address was still on his drivers license even though he had long moved on. I could definitely see how clearview could be used to improve their collections and even do ‘precrime’ work like kicking him out of the store before any more thefts. Creepy as heck.

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Yeah, I figured some of these involved tracking down suspected shoplifters, but with others, that doesn’t make sense as an explanation. It’s something weirder and creepier, I think. (E.g. someone involved in a public protest against the company…)

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Certainly don’t call out your local PD on twitter asking if they use Pre-Crime software.

Let me reiterate: unless you like harassment from Hell’s Angels and Proud Boys don’t call out your local PD on social.

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