Clearview AI: The Shady Company Tracking Your Face Online
4:53PM Jul 31, 2020
Surveillance company Clearview AI became known for scraping billions of images off of social media for its facial recognition application, but it's sold to many companies and law enforcement agencies. Get clear view does more than just search faces. It also compiles links to social media platforms, allowing police, a deep look into individuals lives this talk will focus on Clearview AI facial recognition technology and the ensuing Fallout. We present Freddy Martinez, with Clearview AI, the shady company tracking your face online.
Hi everyone, my name is Freddie Martinez, and I am a policy analyst at open the government. I'm so excited to be in your living room today as part of Hoke 2020 to tell you a story about the worst surveillance company, I've ever heard of. It's a company called Clearview AI. And it kind of really wanted to tell a story backstory about how we found out that they exist, and really uncovered a lot of malfeasance to put it that way. So just a bit about myself. So I'm a policy analyst at open the government, which is a nonpartisan coalition of partners, based in the Washington DC area. We work on it all issues of transparency and openness and before that time I was a technologist in Chicago primarily. I was doing, you know, Linux engineering and other kinds of technical work, but I really got interested in the idea of police surveillance how it's being carried out around the country and started doing pretty much Information Act requests for us to really uncover more. So one of the things, one of the projects that I worked on when I was in Illinois was this very important law called bit but it's the name of the biometrics privacy law. And as part of a number of groups we successfully defended it at the Illinois Supreme Court. So it kind of became a natural fit that when I joined open the government. I will take over some of our work on fish recognition technologies in general. And feel free to follow us on social media. Okay, so, just a bit about facial recognition for completeness. There was a report in 2016, they found something like half of all of Americans are in a facial recognition database. Most of that information comes from licensing photos. So if your driver's license, there's a very good chance that the FBI has your photo it's facial recognition database. Something like 400 million images. This technology is being bought and sold in secret, and particularly troubling because the way that it functions is that it creates sort of a biometric identifier of your face, we'll turn it into a number of mathematical features and look for those features in something like a DMV record or mug shot data. But this technology is very inaccurate. The National Institute of Standards and Technology studied it and found that some facial recognition algorithms are 100 times less likely to be accurate on black and brown faces than on white faces. So there's a strong demographic bias and, you know, knowing what we know about police bias and already you know you can you can imagine that adding this as a tool to an already by a system will make things worse. And these kind of concerns are not just theoretical. Earlier this year, you know, just last month we heard about cases where people were being wrongfully arrested by Detroit police department because of what they just trusted the, the facial recognition system. And people are getting falsely arrested for it. So it's not a great position to be in. Just a little bit about open the government you know one of the things that I've been working on. As part of our groups is just sort of letting Congress know what are the issues that they should be aware of how should you be thinking about facial recognition regulating it what are the safeguards What are regulations that would work. So there's this very real skills gap between like technologists like that might be listening to this talk, and public policy folks, so I would just say that. Definitely my investigations were very well informed by my previous work and a lot of public policy places don't have this kind of experience. So I highly encourage people to you know get involved in this is the kind of work you want to be doing. So one of the first things that I did when I joined open the government was our rope of sort of foil 101 for people who want to investigate facial recognition in their own backyards. So if you've never sent the public records request. You don't know anything about facial recognition, or maybe you know what, you know half of one and not the other half. This is a great guy for you all to to read it really explains your rights.
And so we put this out there, and at the same time we launched a project, we launched this project with a group called muckrock which is a platform, sort of a software as a service platform that lets you send foyers, and it will do things like automatically follow up with agencies, when they inevitably blow you off. So we set about 100 foias, and really wanted to check, you know, what's the current state of affairs in summer of 2019 with facial recognition technology who's got it what's changed. And, you know, we started getting back some documents and analyzing them. And through this project that's how we kind of came to know about peer review. Okay, so the first major hint that something is wrong, was sort of Atlanta police. They were dodging our requests, I would email them routinely and ask, Hey, where are my records. They stonewalled us for a while and then they you know eventually got a set of records, but it really took you know months of sort of chasing them down. And the reason that that matters is because, you know, if we hadn't done our due diligence if we hadn't exercised our rights, we maybe would have missed a story. So, that is to say that home records laws are, you know, in your favor. We as the public have a right to these documents, we have a right to know what our government is up to, and we should really strongly protect our rights and use them.
So, Atlanta police.
The first kind of major hint that something was wrong, was this document we got back it was an email, and I've never heard of clear view. This is a pricing sheet dated 2019. And they said that they spoke to a representative, and it cost $2,000 a year per license on based on previous reporting official recognition system costs in between like 70 to $140,000 a year. So, You know, that was kind of interesting, maybe like a small yellow flag. It's a little hard to see here but they claim to have this proprietary database, and they claim that police officers can do unlimited searches on their platform. Just a little bit strange. And so those are two kind of yellow flags immediately that maybe prompted us to take a closer look at the documents that we were getting back. So, a chief tool, never heard of them, and unlimited searches. That was kind of weird. But really what we hit on was this white paper this legal analysis that was included in the foyer response. And it took us a while to wrap our brains around it, we actually had to read the document like three or four times to really get a sense of what's actually at play here. And let me show you kind of how that looked so it's not often that you get something that's called attorney work product. You know, it's just supposed to be privileged and confidential and they sent it to us. And, you know, don't worry about the text, we'll highlight some of the key
findings, the stuff that really jumped out at us.
So at the very top Kirkland and Ellis is a huge law firm in the US, I think the largest one in the country. and their client is clear view here in the center with a signature is this person in Parliament he was Solicitor General under george bush. So the fact that he signed this document was very interesting. Imagine that a police department gives you something that they worked out with James called me signature or something like that. So, very high ranking, former government officials, really working with Clearview just previously unheard of company that dates, August 2019 so this is hot off the presses, and the document is the legal implication of clear view. And I just want to pause for a second, and just think about this for a little bit longer. Paul Clemente is not a nobody. He is probably like a partner at a law firm. And what this entire memo tells us just off of the the letterhead is that this document is very expensive, so clear you probably spent 200 to $400,000, just to get Parliament's, you know, review the signature. and that's even before we start looking at what the document actually says. So, pretty important stuff again took me a few readings to catch it. Clearview claims that they're taking photos of someone uploading it to an application of some kind, and they're matching it to what's called publicly available images. We talked again earlier about DMV photos or mug shot photos were usually what drives these databases. So that was, you know, a bit weird. And at the bottom here, they claimed that they don't have to follow any state biometrics or privacy laws. They don't have to follow the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. And, you know, I fought that case at the Illinois supreme court with a bunch of our friends. The fact that they could just claim that they don't have to follow the Supreme Court ruling which came down in January or February of 2018 is very strange. So, again, these. All of these things are kind of red flags almost immediately. And they go on to describe the images themselves. So, Clearview was collecting images off of social media sites, they called them, you know, networking sites, they said one employee networking site which we eventually found out was LinkedIn. And they claimed that they're collecting these publicly available images, and putting it in their database, which includes, what they call billions of publicly available images, and what's worse is that the way that they would do their facial recognition is they would say you know here's a facial Freddie arm, um, here's a Facebook profile that we think looks just like him. And they would link out to that profile or he, you know, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, what have you. And so putting it all together, just to reiterate Clearview is collecting billions of images, you know, of your data, your faces, collecting it off of social media and selling access to law enforcement. They claim not to have to follow any kind of privacy laws, selling this money, this data for profit, and the linking of images out to other websites is extremely problematic so what they're doing is not just like, Hey, here's two images that looks like this person's face. But, you know, with a person's Facebook you can imagine that you know what their social network looks like with a LinkedIn, you probably know an employer, with web logs, you can maybe read personal writing or some kind, you can imagine, religious affiliations, all sorts of really revealing information that it just collects arbitrarily and is selling to law enforcement. So, in a lot of ways, I think there's this, this thing that people want to call it a facial recognition company, but it's really not that it's actually the information they're collecting is actually much more revealing than my face. So, this is very troubling. This is not official recognition vendor. It's a mass surveillance company.
So, other things that are important to point out is that there's no meaningful consent in opting in or opting out of the data. So you know, I post a photo of my kid on Facebook, and they can just claim to capture it because it's publicly available. There's also no meaningful way to remove your photos from their data sets. So later Cleary would claim that if they already collected your photo. Too bad. Um. That's it. That's not how consent works. That's not how we should be thinking about protecting our information. And then another thing that's really important is that, though, by the very nature of how social networks work, you have to upload some amount of personal information, you know so Facebook has like a real like deep, or real name policy, most social media sites require some kind of image or information about, you know, you. So by their very nature, even if your, your Facebook is private. You're still actually giving out a lot of information, which, you know, people can harvest, it's really bad. And so putting it all together. It took me a while to figure this out. Is that what we're talking about is like not really like one violation of privacy but like a whole number of them, there's like five or six that we can think of. And so I got pretty troubled by this and you know I did have to pause and say, Is this really what I think it is. So, I wasn't sure if this was really anything. So, you know, I had to dig a little bit deeper, no one at this point I had heard of this company. And so we want to know who are they. So, the first thing I did was I catalogued all of the emails that I had email addresses that I had every mailing address that I had, I took all the names that I could run through. And I was checking out their website it looked just like any sort of Silicon Valley startup, with a button that just said request access, I tried it didn't work. And that's about it. So, very sort of secretive. So I did what anyone else would do is I started using Open Source Intelligence techniques to find everything that I could about this company. If you've never read Michael Basil's excellent book on ascent, highly recommend it. And I was able to find that the company was about 18 months old at the time. First registered their website in May of 2018, we were able to find that through passive DNS. And I started digging around some of these names so for example one woman. Her name was Jessica Meredith garrison fairly unique name, and I would Google for this, and there was a woman who was helping reelect the republican Attorney General of Alabama going by this name. Very unique name, and was also speaking at panels on casino security, and why casinos should be using facial recognition technology, no company name no professional affiliation, and that didn't strike me as really didn't make any sense like why is the Republican Party operative pitching facial recognition technology to law enforcement. And we found addresses a lot of accuracies this company kept moving their, their business addresses, which, you know, I'm sure every single company that is on the up and up. Practices this day where they have a new headquarters every three months.
I called in some friends, I called Dave moss at the E FF, and I asked him if he had ever heard of clear view. He said, No, him and that he did a bit of digging gave me a few leads about some other police departments that I could foil. I talked to other experts on facial recognition. No one had heard of this company. So something weirds going on, so we have to do more voices to figure out what's what's really happening here, which we did. And we begin to find some small hints. In particular, Florida has these incredible incredibly well suited public records laws. So they gave us a ton of records. And in particular, there was this thing called crime decks that they claim to be using. So, this might not be obvious to you but you know someone steal something out of target target will send the alert to police departments and say, you know, hey, do you know this person, or they routine shoplifter. And so they have all these networks of sharing information, one of which was called crime decks. And so this, these police departments all over the country are emailing each other about here's a bounced check. Here's a trespasser that I found on a ring doorbell camera. Here's, you know, some something stolen from a target. Who are these people, and they would email back. The police department in Florida would email back like, I think it's this person's Instagram. I think it's this person's Facebook. So, so that was happening in Chrome decks and then also in Chrome decks, all of the emails would end with trail Clearview free trials. So that was interesting. And then we had heard through, you know, reading other documentation that Neville claimed to have 200 police departments as clients, but everyone that we would ask for their contracts would tell us that they don't have any, so there's like no paper trail, which again legitimate businesses do not do this. So, that was interesting. And another thing that we found is we found these emails back and forth. At one point, a police department in Springfield, Illinois, asked, you know, when you're filling out arrest reports Do you mention clear view. And the guy from Florida just writes back. Oh no, just keep it really vague. So that raises really serious Fourth Amendment concerns, obviously, you know they're keeping this information away from suspects in their own words. Okay, so, some hints. Ah, that this thing is very shady, but this is about where I hit my dead end. I have to switch strategies at this point. And so that's what we do. We reach out to the New York Times, Kashmir Hill, you know, what they call the failing near times. She's an incredible tech reporter, and we gave her all of the research and we said hey we think there's a lot here. Are you interested, you know, what are the next steps. And she was and she did an incredible job recording this, she was able to track down, you know, addresses of the company like where they actually existed. I love this map of New York City, you know, for those of us who have been to previous hopes you know this section of Manhattan. And it's not far from the New York Times building. And so I found this address and I said, Hey, I think this addresses, you know suite 100. Will you go check it out and see is this company legit. And so, later I hear from Kashmir. She's like, Well no, that office doesn't exist. And I'm like, Wait wait it's a five minute walk in New York Times What do you mean it doesn't exist you like check them out on your lunch break, or something. And she says, Well no, it's not that the address doesn't exist, like like the not that just the office doesn't exist but the building itself doesn't exist. There's no address at where you claim it is. So again really shady stuff. And, you know, they would later claim it's just like common paperwork errors. And so there was a lot of digging to find out who was actually Clearview, the venture firm that venture capitalist firm that first funded them was, you know, Peter TEALS funding. So, this was going on for a while a lot of investigating. But we, there was, it was still very hard to find people who actually worked at Clearview. Eventually,
Kashmir was able to track down the CEO of Clearview, a person by the name of point on tap, which we'll get to a little bit later. And so, you know, did a lot of this reporting. They wrote their story and they published it. And it was kind of an important story it was. Oh. So, if you want to hear a little bit more about like the background investigations into like peeling back you know the VC firms and the missing addresses.
There are two articles that you can you can view
the podcasts on the right is really interesting you know Kashmir talks about riding the train for an hour and I think she's seven or eight months pregnant at the time trying to get anyone in everyone to talk to her. Pretty interesting story. If you're interested, check that out. Um, so, so they do all this investigating and then they go and they publish and it actually is a fairly big story. It's the front page of the New York Times on a Sunday edition, like it's like right up there with Trump's impeachment. And they really do talk about how this application could be the end of privacy. And so, yeah, because what you know clear we could do is you could take a photo of someone that you see walking down the street, maybe you think they're cute. And then it'll pull up an Instagram page, you know, it's pretty creepy stuff. They were able to confirm, many of our findings. 3 billion people in this facial recognition database. The company claimed to have 600 police agencies using them. And a lot of what we thought was weird was actually confirmed Clearview would be sending everyone in anyone, a free trial just as a way of getting business. So you could just go to the website register and just be using this application without any kind of like, Without anyone knowing if you're a law enforcement. This is a picture of what went on tat from his publicly available social media profile and other things that they found were that they were clear people spying on on Kashmir. So, she would go to a police agency and say I want to test out your application. And they would run searches on her. And at one point Clearview contacted the police department and said, Hey, are you talking to the press seeming to indicate that they could see the searches that law enforcement was doing, which is really creepy and bizarre and kind of pretty bad information security, and that there are police agencies of all sizes, using clear view. So confirming a lot of what we had sort of previously thought. So, the fallout to the story was, you know, pretty immediate and a little bit mind mind blowing. So, as it happened. immediately, about two days later, Clearview got hacked, you know, that's what happens and make the internet angry. So, they get their client list taken, people are able to find their application in insecure, Amazon s3 buckets.
That is to say, you know,
people expected this. But there's other kinds of Fallout tech companies, immediately sent cease and desist to Clearview Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and they tell him to cut it out, you're taking our user data against our terms of service and and clear kind of responded well, it's our first amendment right to take your, the data off of social media is an very interesting constitutional interpretation that I've never seen before. And, in particular BuzzFeed news creates an entire series of stories around Clearview, and I highly recommend people. Check this series out because clearly responded with a well all publicity is good publicity sort of PR campaign. And what BuzzFeed reporters found was that almost everything that Kerry was saying was a lie. So they would claim, we only sell to law enforcement agencies. In the US, and you know bottom left, you're finding Macy's and the NBA using this application. They would claim that they were only selling in the US, and there was evidence that they're pitching to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates. At one point, the founder was asked if he would sell the application to governments, where it was for example illegal to be gay. And he said, Well, think about it. And you know their marketing material was very shoddy they claim to solve a terrorism case, within seconds BuzzFeed disprove that, that is to say that, you know, they would just go out there and lie. And it was really, this kind of journalism that uncovered a lot of problems with what they're doing what they're saying. So incredible series, if you're interested. Other things happened, a senator has gotten involved congressional investigations. So, for example, It's. There's a child privacy law federal privacy law. If you're under the age of 13 you can create a social media. So, because of because of this law and clear people's claiming that they were ingesting 50 million images, a day into their data set. And so how do you make sure that like, you keep children out of it, how do you make sure that you keep graphical graphic content out of it or you know maybe potentially illegal content. And so Congress got involved and really started asking a ton of questions. The New Jersey Attorney General, bar, all police departments from using it,
and clear we got sued.
Four times in fact, different kinds of class action lawsuits, and in particular the one that ACLU did is, again, a violation under big law. So, in bitbuy if someone takes your biometrics without your consent. You can sue them for up to $5,000. There are 6 million people in the state of Illinois, times however many number of biometric violations there are. So you can imagine that these kinds of lawsuits can really impact the financial future of Clearview.
that was a fallout. Really interesting stuff to see and john oliver did a did a section on Clearview check that out. The link is below. So a few lessons learned. You know recognize when you need additional resources, I got stuck a few times, I just had to say hey I can't do this investigation anymore. Cashman Are you interested. Here's everything that I have. I spent a lot of time following up on my foi requests. So I actually call the police chief and I asked them, like where's the contract for using clear view and he told me like no no no no, the salesperson just called me and asked if I wanted a free trial and they said yes and i have it. And that's why there's no money, exchanged.
Again, kind of unheard of.
document everything I had so many, you know, false leads and little nuggets that I thought were interesting that maybe didn't make it into the story but are really interesting details. Um, document that's somewhere. And then finally you know public engagement matters. Having a background like I did really help. Having being technical really helped. So it's important not just to be technical but be able to talk to policymakers, read like that legal memo by Parliament and things like that. So, just it's important to be multi-disciplinary, wherever possible. If you're interested in surveillance in your backyard. My experience has been that you often find surveillance in the place that you least expect it. So, you know, I found this company selling cameras that you would stick in a graveyard in a gravestone like a you stick it in a gravestone and stick it in a cemetery. Presumably, there's a lot of crime in cemeteries. And like, it's very weird, like I didn't expect these kinds of documents when I was searching facial recognition, in general, but that's what happens all the time. So if you're going to do surveillance in your backyard, I highly encourage you to think outside of the box about where that could be. And then finally, another note about surveillance is that many police chiefs didn't even know that their department was using Clearview because their own officers. Just kind of gained access without any oversight. So we know the issues of police surveillance, and the fact that many cities don't have oversight in their own in their own city on police.
But we also know that like even like
the the detective Bureau, for example, doesn't know that this investigators doing all of these other things. So often we would have this thing where you would call a, you know, a city and ask
them for comment.
They would say no no no we would never use clear view. And then, you know, two hours later would say, we're not using that product anymore. clarifying that they were actually we're using it, so really raises troubling questions about transparency and oversight on just a few minor things transparency really does matter shameless plug. That's the name of our newsletter. So, anytime that you think that you might need to talk to someone about what's happening there are organizations that are or there are people who really do want to tell your side of the story. Um, Congress can always access information, even if it's classified if you want to blow the whistle on something, or advocacy organizations, and there are also technical tools like secure drop signal for contacting journalists and the like. And just a few minor resources, the citizen guide that I mentioned earlier. The ffs is incredible Atlas of surveillance, where they sort of looked everywhere in the country about where they could find police surveillance. So you can go in, you know, to their platform, type your city, and then you'll see that maybe your city is using facial recognition and license plate readers and other kinds of tools. So it's an incredible resource. muckrock is a fantastic resource for anyone who's doing public records. They do so much, so much, and there's so much on their website. If you don't know where to get started, just click around and search on there and there's a ton of articles tons of research. So I highly recommend muckrock as well. And then just also myself as a resource info at open the government. org. And I guess finally before we close this research not just me by myself. I had a ton of people in civil society, researchers, journalists, contributing. So, like, you know, maybe I hit the tip of the iceberg but really, these are the people who helped uncover everything. So I, you know, too many to name but just to say that no one person can do this kind of reporting, or kind of research. And so, you know, I'll be eternally grateful for all of these people who really do care quite a bit about these issues. And with that I think we'll take questions.
Welcome back to Clearview AI, the shady company tracking your face online. We are here with Freddie Martinez, Freddie Thank you so much. We've got some great chat going on in matrix QA. If you have questions for Freddy please feel free to drop them in the live stream on our matrix chat. But we are okay. Pretty question for the audience, a clear view sued, but what came out of it. What is the current state of the company.
Oh, that's a that's actually a really great question. Um, so there's a few different lawsuits. A few of them are class action lawsuits. And with those lawsuits. There they go through like a certification that you know the class has standing and things like that on the ACLU lawsuit in particular is slightly different. And that's sort of just going through the proceedings, these lawsuits were filed in, I think, like, April and then of course because of COVID, everything has slowed down. And so we don't actually know, you know, it's hard to predict what the financial impact of those losses will be. But if you kind of do the numbers on clear view their revenue streams are not like great, you know, so you know they were probably making about a million dollars a year. Just on revenue. So, it's because they're a private company is hard to tell how much venture capital they actually were got. So, yeah, it's hard to say how that will play out but that's just to say that there's at least four lawsuits, and they're still sort of making their way through courts, and they're very much in the preliminary states. So we'll see kind of how that plays out and in the next few months and now as courts are opening up there, you'll see those lawsuits moving. So, you know, hopefully we'll have an update on that in the next couple of months.
Thank you. Okay, next audience question. The technology is impressive. And it was misused. Can you talk about better legitimate uses for what clear view has developed.
Um, I, our experience has been that when people regulators people in power, whoever it is, actually take a look at sort of the the trade off the civil liberties privacy trade off to public safety, they find that it's really inappropriate like even for what they're trying to do so for the, for example the attorney general, the case in New Jersey. They had claimed that clearbrook had claimed that the attorney general, that helped get a police department in New Jersey, with some, I think, a child sexual exploitation case. And when the Attorney General found out that this was being used as marketing material. They took such exception to what Cleary was doing, and that they were using you know the Attorney General as marketing that they shut down the entire states use. So I think on balance in terms of what we're talking about sort of the potential to completely use anonymity in public space versus some potential. You know, fringe public safety benefit that when you have that informed debate. It's impossible to say that yes this is a thing that we really want to do as a society. So that's why oversight and transparency is so important to have that informed debate, and I'm so my belief is just that when we've seen those debates play out. Everything has been like, this is too much power. We don't want police to have this ability. And we'd rather just them not use it. So, my experience has been that there's almost like no legitimate use for it. And that's just based on sort of what we've seen from other people providing oversight.
Thank you. Okay, next question from the participants. Hope has had two talks about Amazon ring. There's an obvious so called business opportunity for ring combined with Clearview technologies, or maybe another company will do this. What do you think,
Oh, I didn't mention this very briefly, at least in Florida, we were actually seeing like the police chief, they found some ring camera, where they thought someone would like stalking around the neighborhood. I think it was like someone got too close to a truck and they thought that was suspicious, and they were actually trying to use clear view on this camera footage. And it didn't work. So I think, you know, obviously we have all like, as we always talk about with surveillance like not only are these technologies extremely invasive, but they don't even work, and so on balance you know I think what we're going to see is that. Yeah, as I'm seeing like regulators and people providing oversight and transparency, or, you know, taking a look and trying to do some accountability. They're also coming to the same conclusions. but that's a great question and actually, I think, I mean I didn't mention it. I mentioned it very briefly in the talk, but we are actually seeing, kind of like mass surveillance, and ring, you know, with with a social media monitoring and the cameras type thing.
Okay, we have another one. Is there a risk that Clearview will just change their name or become a different company to hide. Could this be a way of dodging the lawsuit and further accountability.
Yeah, I mean, corporations always have all sorts of fun, creative ways of dodging accountability. Um, what we've seen really is that like my experience has been that they actually are really leaning into all of the press that they're getting and I think that they're actually trying to like use that to drum up business. Um, so I don't think that that's going to happen. I mean, I don't know that that will happen in maybe well. But what we've seen so far is that they actually are trying to like use this to drum up their own business so so I don't think that will happen just because I think the, they've got the, you know, glossy green eyes that they see money in the controversy. So, I don't think that'll happen.
Okay, next. Do the lawsuits emphasize how racially biased clear view is IE for Miss identifying people of color.
So that's a great question and actually, the answer is no. And the reason being that Clearview, click like. I didn't talk about this during the talk, but they claimed in their marketing material that it was 100% accurate. And the way that they did that is a kind of basically like Randy's images that they had against their application, and then they had like a third, a panel that they that they got together to certify the results of the, of the audit. The panel included like a retired federal judge who was like, I think like 75 or 78, years old, who was head of the panel, another guy I think was like, went to college with the founder, so I like their marketing material is really shady and they claim to just be 100% accurate and no racial bias, and in fact that they claim that their technology, actually, because it's done by algorithms actually has no racial bias in it because computers don't see color or race and and that was in the marketing memo from the legal memo that I talked about. So they claim that there's no bias at all in fact it's 100% accurate because computers did it. And the guy went to college with set so he signed off on our audit. So really shady stuff as, as I mentioned,
sort of dovetailing with that we are several months into ongoing Black Lives Matter protests are there indications that Clearview or something like it are being used to identify protesters.
At least that's a great question I've been asked that question a lot of times I haven't seen any indication of that mostly what you see is like on Social Media Pro posts being collected by people like you know the FBI, or fusion centers or local police departments. We haven't seen any evidence of that mostly what it is is just people collecting random tweets and Facebook posts and trying to make sense of that in real time. So, so we haven't seen any evidence of that but it's definitely a concern as well. Especially like sort of trying to go back and identify particular protesters and so that is a concern, obviously.
A. Next question, as surveillance continues to expand what are best practices for waking up people in your community. Are there any tactics that scale at street level to continue to convince neighbors to not buy ring to question their police departments to push back.
Yeah, I mean I think I I think obviously the doing this, transparency in your own backyard is is hugely important. Like I'm not from Atlanta, I didn't expect that Atlanta would be the tip of the iceberg. So I do think that's really important. In doing this in your own backyard. Um, I do think there are places where people can push on, for example, I've seen Portland has a ban on facial recognition by commercial entities, which is, you know, one of the strongest privacy laws in the country that's been passed recently, um, you know, I think it's going to take a variety of these tactics obviously working with in your own community talking to your neighbors but also trying to provide oversight transparency, but then also like thinking about how do you like either Ben or put a moratorium on this technology. So it's going to have to take on a variety of tactics, but I think oversight is going to be sort of a central aspect to it. It's going to be hard just to be like convince my neighbor to care about that and that's going to scale up, I think it's going to require all sorts of political pressures.
But I'm happy to talk about that in the chat as well.
antastic. One last question. Some attendees are reminded of the movie Minority Report, do you think some dystopian future scenarios have been accelerated by clear view and technology like it and can you comment on whether such scenarios are more likely.
Oh man, dystopian movies, that's a good question. Um, I saw the Robocop one which I thought was good.
I mean, I think really the the risk of of like actually losing anonymity in public, the fact that like a police department can instantly identify you with any kind of interaction with you is really horrifying. Yeah, I did see that, I mean I did see my nerd reported and it was very similar systems. Um, I don't know about a particular movie that comes to mind but I did see like Senator Wyden tweeted that it was like a black mirror episode, which I thought was very strange. So I would, I would just say that I do actually see like a quite a bit of a dystopian future here, actually happened well. When we first got into clear view, we realized that this kind of line of like the loss of anonymity, in public. We had always thought that that was a dystopian future like five or 10 years from now. And when we found these records we were realizing that like that future is actually collapsing very very quickly. And that's one of the reasons that we put a lot of energy into this, this project because we really thought we were, that was a few years off. And we were like, Oh, crap, it's already here today. Um, so so yeah I would say that like dystopian futures are a little bit weird to think about, but I would say that like, the future is not that far off it's actually probably a lot closer to the present. So,
yeah, I don't know if that answers the question.
That's great. One last question which is actually the last question. What's next for you What are you looking into.
Um, I mean I think one of the things we really need to talk about is, you know, how to regulate this use how to talk to congressional staff inform them about what's, what's happening. There are a lot of important fights right now, sort of like, we know reauthorization of Pfizer and section 215. So, we haven't launched any new investigations where we're actually still kind of, you know, we like working on other investing sort of continuing to gather documentation. But, you know, I think maybe in the future we'll launch another sort of surveillance in your backyard project and see what we get from there. Um, so yeah, I'm a big advocate of looking for surveillance in your own backyard. And that's how I got started and, and that was hugely impactful for this work.
That's fantastic. Thank you so much for it Martinez, this has been Clearview AI the shady company tracking your face online. Freddie Thank you very much, and we are here what we're going to throw it back to Ground Control Thank you so much.