Clearview AI: FBI Uses It to Identify Anyone

Internet is full of our information. Worst of all, it is we who are publishing that information, and in the case that we have social media accounts such as Twitter or Instagram open, anyone can see our photos or see our tweets. And the FBI is taking advantage of it to identify people.

Clearview AI: 3,000 million photos database

Thus, the agency not only claims to be able to unlock even the most modern iPhone, but can also know the name, address, and other details of any person just by having a picture of themselves. To do this, they use a software developer by Clearview AI , with an advanced facial recognition system.


And not only the FBI is using it, but all the security-related authorities in the United States. What the software does is to search all over the Internet for information related to that face you have photographed, including social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Venmo , and many others, although networks such as Twitter prohibit the use of your images to improve facial recognition. With this, you will almost certainly get our name, and from there they can cross other data sources to find the address or phone number if they do not find them on networks.

Clearview AI has a database of 3,000 million photos , which is one of the reasons that led them to use the company’s database. On the contrary, the FBI database “only” has almost 650 million, obtained through passports or driving licenses. At the moment there are already more than 600 agencies in the United States that use it. The first crime they solved was a two-man fight in a park, where the program identified the face of one of the men in another video in which he linked to his profile on the social network. That man did not appear in the databases in the United States, so it would have been very difficult to arrest him without AI.

Thus, the police or the FBI can take any photo of a suspect of any type of crime, from terrorism to shoplifting, and identify the person with relative ease. The authorities do not know all the details of how the program works, but it has already been used to arrest people related to shoplifting, identity theft, bank card fraud, murder and sexual abuse cases.

The EU and Google have stopped the development of this technology

Meanwhile, in the European Union , all software related to facial recognition has been banned for a period of five years to allow time for a regulation to be created to avoid future abuse of this type of technology, since if it falls into The wrong hands can generate a lot of problems.

In fact, Google itself said in 2011 that the only technology in which they had decided not to advance was facial recognition because in the future it could be used for all kinds of malicious activities.

The New York Times, which is the one who has revealed the existence of this software, has been able to look at its code to also discover that it is prepared to be able to use with augmented reality glasses , so that any person seen in the Street as if it were the Watchdogs game. The journalist also verified how the company could access that data, and used it to monitor him.

This is really dangerous, as it can be used to identify people in protests as is happening in Hong Kong. The dangers can go even further, like a policeman who wants to know the past of a possible new partner, or that governments use him to blackmail people. However, as the company says, it is difficult to stop the technological advancement even though this technology can be used to identify any person.