In a new letter co-signed by dozens of civil rights and civil liberties organizations across the country, Defending Rights & Dissent is calling on the federal government to end its use of facial recognition technology provided by the private company Clearview AI.
Clearview AI provides facial recognition services to law enforcement throughout the country, tied to a database of more than 3 billion biometric identifiers that the company has extracted from images scraped without permission from sites including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. This practice of extracting identifiers is a clear violation of privacy rights. As Clearview AI’s use of face recognition has been shrouded in secrecy, it is impossible to know how many people have been wrongfully arrested as a result of its technology. Clearview AI’s facial recognition has been banned for use by law enforcement in New Jersey, deemed illegal by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and is the subject of a lawsuit by the Vermont Attorney General and multiple civil rights, racial justice, and community organizations. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and Twitter have all sent cease-and-desist letters to Clearview AI for violating their terms of service by scraping data.
Clearview AI has provided thousands of free trials to state and federal law enforcement agencies, leading to experimental and unauthorized use. Many leaders at these agencies, when contacted by the press, were unaware that employees were using the tool. In particular, the use of Clearview AI by federal immigration authorities has not been subject to sufficient oversight or transparency.
That’s why DRAD, along with our fellow co-signers, urges the Department of Homeland Security to stop using Clearview AI at its agencies in any capacity.