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Facial Recognition Firm Sued for Scraping 3 Billion Faceprints

New York facial recognition startup Clearview AI – which has amassed a huge database of more than three billion images scraped from employment sites, news sites, educational sites, and social networks including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Venmo – is being sued in a potential class action lawsuit that claims the company gobbled up photos out of “pure greed” to sell to law enforcement.

The complaint (posted courtesy of ZDNet) was filed in Illinois, which has the nation’s strictest biometrics privacy law – the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The suit against Clearview was just one chunk of shrapnel that flew after the New York Times published an exposé about how Clearview has been quietly selling access to faceprints and facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies across the US, claiming that it can identify a person based on a single photo, revealing their real name and far more. From the New York Times:

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“The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew.”

Clearview told the Times that more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year, and it’s sold the technology to a handful of companies for security purposes. Clearview declined to provide a list of its customers… Naked Security

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