Controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI hit by massive client data breach

Clearview AI

Clearview AI, the Aussie-founded startup at the centre of a data privacy debate for its facial recognition software, has suffered a data breach reportedly exposing its entire customer list, and details about those customers.

A notification sent to Clearview customers said an intruder had “gained unauthorized access” to the startup’s entire customer list, The Daily Beast reports.

The memo said the intruder was able to see how many searches those customers have made, and how many accounts they have set up.

It’s not clear what the intruder intends to use this data for, but the startup also said its servers were not breached, and that there was no access to law enforcement agencies’ search histories.

Founded by US-based Australian entrepreneur Hoan Ton-That, Clearview rose to notoriety in January this year, when The New York Times suggested it’s tech is already in use at more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the US.

Clearview uses an AI algorithm allowing users to snap a photo of anyone in public, upload it, and access any public images of that person — for example on their public social media accounts.

It has been reported that it has amassed about three billion images of people.

The app was quickly denounced as “disturbing and unethical”, with many social media users raising significant concerns about safety.

Soon, Twitter became the first social media platform to officially demand Clearview stops using images and data from its site. It also requested that Clearview deleted any data it had already acquired.

A CNET report suggested that while the app is not currently available to the general public, it could be “in the future”.

Clearview, however, maintains it is not a consumer application, and that the technology is only available for law enforcement agencies.

At the same time, a report from The New York TimesThe Daily podcast suggested the startup can stop people from being identified, suggesting it can control the results of police investigations.

NOW READ: “Marketing fluff”: What startups can learn from Canva’s data-breach response

NOW READ: Bit by bit, day by day: How to play the long game with cyber security

You can help us (and help yourself)

Small and medium businesses and startups have never needed credible, independent journalism and information more than now.

That’s our job at SmartCompany: to keep you informed with the news, interviews and analysis you need to manage your way through this unprecedented crisis.

Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany supporter.

Even a small contribution will help us to keep doing the journalism that keeps Australia’s entrepreneurs informed.

Trending

COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments