Investigation reveals use of Clearview AI software in 24 countries

An investigation by BuzzFeed News has revealed that, as of February 2020, 88 law enforcement and government-affiliated agencies in 24 countries (not including the USA) have tried to use the facial recognition software provided by Clearview AI. According to the investigation, police departments, prosecutors’ offices, universities, and interior ministries from around the world ran almost 14,000 searches using Clearview AI’s software. In some of these instances (e.g. law enforcement agencies in Canada and Finland), officers used the software without the permission or knowledge of their superiors. BuzzFeed News also argues that the company has offered free trials to employees of law enforcement agencies in countries such as Australia, Brazil, and the UK. Clearview AI has been under intense scrutiny in Australia, Canada, the UK, and elsewhere over the privacy implications of its software; the company scraps images from publicly available online spaces into a massive database that its customers can then use to run facial recognition searches and identify persons of interest.