After Clearview AI collected billions of photos from public websites including Instagram, Venmo, and LinkedIn to create a law enforcement facial recognition tool, there have been many concerns about the company and its code-breaking tool. Beyond the privacy and legal implications of what Clearview AI has done, questions have arisen about whether the tool works as advertised: can a company really find the face of one particular person in a database of billions?
The Clearview AI app has been in the hands of law enforcement for years before being verified for accuracy by an independent third party. Now, after two rounds of federal testing last month, instrument accuracy is no longer a major concern.
New York-based Clearview ranked in the top 10 of nearly 100 facial recognition vendors in a federal test to determine which tools are best for finding the right face when viewing photos of millions of people, according to results announced Monday. people. Clearview performed less on a different version of the test, which simulates the use of facial recognition to provide access to buildings, for example, to verify that someone is an employee.
“We’re delighted,” said Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That. “This reflects our real use case.”
Last month, the company also performed well in a test – the so-called one-to-one test – of the ability to match two different photographs of the same person, mimicking the face check that people use to unlock their smartphones.
The positive results were “a shot in the hand for the sales team,” Mr Ton-Tata said.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has been testing facial recognition vendors for two decades. Since the start of these tests, the report notes, “face recognition has undergone an industrial revolution where algorithms have become more tolerant of poorly lit and other low quality images, as well as poorly positioned objects.”
Clearview made an impressive debut on the charts for search terms or one-to-many searches, but the leaders were SenseTime, a Chinese company, and Cubox from South Korea. In 2019, the Department of Commerce blacklisted SenseTime and 27 other Chinese organizations because their products were involved in China’s campaign against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. Axios said the name was later changed to Beijing SenseTime, limiting the effects of blacklisting.
Aside from accuracy, questions remain about the legality of the Clearview tool. Authorities in Canada and Australia have said that Clearview violated their laws by not obtaining the consent of the citizens whose photographs are included in the database, and that the company is fighting privacy lawsuits in Illinois and Vermont.