Clearview AI

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Clearview AI
IndustryFacial recognition, Software
FoundersHoan Ton-That
Richard Schwartz
Areas served
United States and Others
ProductsClearview AI Software Clearview AI Search Engine

Clearview AI is an American facial recognition company, providing software to companies, law enforcement, universities, and individuals. The company's algorithm matches faces to a database of more than three billion images indexed from the Internet, including social media applications.[1] Founded by Hoan Ton-That and Richard Schwartz, the company maintained a low profile until late 2019, when its usage by law enforcement was reported on.[2][1][3] Multiple reports identified Clearview's association with far-right personas dating back to 2016, when the company claimed to sever ties with two employees.[4]

In January 2020, Twitter sent a cease and desist letter and requested the deletion of all collected data.[5] This was followed by similar actions by YouTube (via Google) and Facebook in February.[6] Clearview sells access to its database to law enforcement agencies and has 3,100 active users[7] including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security according to The Wall Street Journal.[8][9][10][11][12] However, contrary to Clearview's claims that its service is sold only to law enforcement, a data breach in early 2020 revealed that numerous commercial organizations were on Clearview's customer list.[13] A spokesperson for the company claimed its valuation to be more than $100 million.[14] In 2021,TIME magazine named Clearview AI as one of the 100 most influential companies of the year.[15]


Clearview operated in near secrecy until the release of The New York Times exposé titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" in January 2020.[1] Citing the article, over 40 tech and civil rights organizations including Color of Change, Council on American–Islamic Relations, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Fight for the Future, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Media Alliance, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National LGBTQ Task Force, Project On Government Oversight, Restore the Fourth, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, and the Woodhull Freedom Foundation sent a letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) and four congressional committees, outlining their concerns with facial recognition and Clearview, asking the PCLOB to suspend the use of facial recognition.[16][17][18][19] The exposé also identified Hoan Ton-That and Richard Schwartz as the company's founders with investors including Peter Thiel.[1][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27] It was reported that Ton-That and Schwartz met at the Manhattan Institute.[28][1][29]

It accelerated a global debate on the regulation of facial recognition technology by governments and law enforcement.[30] Numerous advocates called for a ban of the Clearview's software upon learning that 3 billion images had been collected from social media websites. Law enforcement officers have stated that Clearview's facial recognition is far superior in identifying perpetrators from any angle than previously used technology.[31][32][33]

After discovering Clearview AI was scraping images from their site, Twitter sent a cease-and-desist letter, insisting that they remove all images as it is against Twitter's policies.[34][35] Facebook has said they are reviewing the situation, and Venmo also stated it is against their policies.[35][36][37] On February 5 and 6, 2020, Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Venmo sent cease and desist letters as it is against their policies. Ton-That responded in an interview with Errol Barnett of CBS This Morning that there's a first amendment right to the information, results were 99.6% accurate, and they have 3 billion scraped images.[38][39]

In February 2020, multiple sources reported that Clearview AI had experienced a data breach, exposing its list of customers. Clearview's attorney, Tor Ekeland stated the flaw has been patched.[40][41]

In April 2020, TechCrunch reported that Mossab Hussein of SpiderSilk, a security firm, discovered Clearview's source code repositories had been exposed with a misconfigured user security setting. This included secret keys and credentials, including cloud storage and Slack tokens. The compiled apps and pre-release apps were accessible, allowing Hussein to run the macOS and iOS apps against Clearview's services. While Ton-That called Hussein's disclosure of the bug extortion, Hussein reported the breach to Clearview but refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement necessary for the program. He also found 70,000 videos in one storage bucket from a Rudin Management apartment building's entrance.[42]

A Huffington Post story published in April 2020 identified a Slack channel from 2016 that was created by Charles C. Johnson and Pax Dickinson called WeSearchr taken from a crowd-funding site of the same name. Channel members included Ton-That, Schwartz, Marko Jukic, Tyler Bass and Douglass Mackey who all worked for Smartcheckr, Clearview's original name before rebranding.[43] Mackey was associated with alt-right white supremacist congressional candidate Paul Nehlen. Clearview claimed to have had no knowledge of Mackey's persona, though Mackey was also part of the WeSearchr Slack under his fake name. After Mackey's persona was revealed, Schwartz used a reputation management company to obscure his involvement with Smartcheckr.[2][43][44]

In September 2020, it was reported that Clearview had raised $8.625 million in equity sales during a funding round. The company's SEC filing did not disclose investors in the round. Before the deal, Clearview has raised a total of $8.4 million from investors including Kirenaga Partners and Peter Thiel.[45] After the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol, the Oxford Police Department in Alabama used Clearview's software to run a number of images posted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its public request for suspect information to generate leads for people present during the riot. Photo matches and information were sent to the FBI who declined to comment on its techniques.[46]

In December 2020, the ACLU of Washington sent a letter to Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan, asking her to ban the Seattle Police Department from using Clearview AI.[47] The letter cited public records retrieved by a local blogger, which showed one officer signing up for and repeatedly logging into the service, as well as corresponding with a company representative. While the ACLU letter raised concerns that the officer's usage violated the Seattle Surveillance Ordinance, an auditor at the City of Seattle Office of the Inspector General argued that the ordinance was designed to address the usage of surveillance technologies by the Department itself, not by an officer without the Department's knowledge.[48]

In April 2021, documents obtained by the Legal Aid Society under New York's Freedom Of Information Law demonstrated Clearview's expansive, multi-year collaboration with the NYPD.[49] These records demonstrated, contrary to past NYPD denials, that Clearview provided accounts to numerous NYPD officers, met with senior NYPD leadership, and entered into a vendor contract with the NYPD.[50] Clearview came under renewed scrutiny for enabling officers to conduct large numbers of searches without formal oversight or approval. In on-boarding emails, new users were encouraged to go beyond running one or two searches to "[s]ee if you can reach 100 searches....”[51]

The company announced its first Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Marketing Officer in May 2021. Devesh Ashra, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary with the United States Department of the Treasury, became its Chief Strategy Officer. Chris Metaxas, a former executive at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, became its Chief Revenue Officer. Susan Crandall, a former marketing executive at LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Motorola Solutions, became its Chief Marketing Officer.[52] Later that month, the company had numerous legal complaints filed in Austria, France, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom for violating European privacy laws in its method of documenting and collecting Internet data.[53]

Marketing efforts and pushback[edit]

Clearview's marketing claimed their facial recognition led to a terrorist arrest. The identification was submitted to the New York Police Department tip line, but the NYPD did not use this tip to identify the suspect, and stated they have no institutional relationship with Clearview, though some 'rogue officers' use it.[54][55][56] Clearview claims to have solved two other New York cases and 40 cold cases, later stating they submitted them to tip lines.[2]

The company was sent a cease and desist letter from the office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal after including a promotional video on its website with the images of Grewal. Clearview had claimed that its app played a role in a New Jersey police sting, which Grewal confirmed had been used to identify one of the child predators. He banned the use of Clearview in all 21 counties in New Jersey and stated that "we need to have a full understanding of what is happening here and ensure there are appropriate safeguards" before using similar products. Tor Ekeland, a lawyer for Clearview, confirmed the marketing video was taken down the same day.[55][57][58]

On March 17, 2020, The Wall Street Journal stated that Clearview was pitching their technology to states for use in contact tracing to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic.[59][60][61] The Next Web said this effort gives Clearview "a chance to repair its reputation."[62]

Cybersecurity expert Josephine Wolff called out Clearview in an op-ed in The New York Times: "The United States government's engagement with the facial recognition company Clearview AI on coronavirus tracking is especially worrisome in this regard", and that "The company's product is still every bit as dangerous, invasive and unnecessary as it was before the spread of the coronavirus."[63] Internet Law professor Jonathan Zittrain called the coronavirus work "a savvy move, aimed at turning a rogue actor into a hero."[64]

The idea surfaced again in late April 2020 when Ton-That appeared on NBC News Now to pitch the idea. He said they have been in contact with federal and state authorities. Harvard Law School bioethics professor I. Glenn Cohen expressed concern, Fight for the Future's response was "Absolutely the fuck not", calling Clearview a cartoonishly shady surveillance vendor. CPO Magazine called Clearview a poster child for potential abuses and lack of transparency.[65][66][67][68] University of Chicago Law School professor Lior Strahilevitz said "When I hear about potential collaborations between the government and Clearview AI to use facial recognition I shudder... I think those are the kinds of tools where the benefits of using them are not zero, but the harms are really substantial".[69]

Clearview has been described in the press as sketchy,[56] creepy,[70][71] the world's scariest facial recognition company,[72] an Olympic-caliber web scraper,[73] and as the company that might end privacy as we know it.[1]

Senator Edward J. Markey wrote Clearview and Ton-That, stating "Widespread use of your technology could facilitate dangerous behavior and could effectively destroy individuals' ability to go about their daily lives anonymously." Markey asked Clearview to detail aspects of its business to understand these privacy, bias, and security concerns.[35][74] Clearview responded through an attorney, declining to reveal information.[75] In response to this, Markey wrote a second letter, calling their response unacceptable and containing dubious claims, highlighting the concern of Clearview "selling its technology to authoritarian regimes" and possible violations of COPPA.[76][77][78] Senator Markey wrote his third letter to the company with concerns, stating "this health crisis cannot justify using unreliable surveillance tools that could undermine our privacy rights." Markey asked a series of questions about what government entities Clearview has been talking with, in addition to unanswered privacy concerns.[79]

Senator Ron Wyden voiced concerns about Clearview and had meetings with Ton-That cancelled on three occasions.[80][81][76]


Clearview states their technology is not for public consumption and meant for law enforcement usage, but their marketing material encouraged users to "run wild" with their use, suggesting searching for family and friends as well as celebrities. Clearview also indicated they were targeting private security firms and marketed to casinos through Clearview's Jessica Medeiros Garrison.[82] Clearview planned expansion to many countries, including Brazil, Colombia, and Nigeria, a cluster that Buzzfeed titles "authoritarian regimes" including United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Singapore, and General Data Protection Regulation-following EU countries including Italy, Greece, and Netherlands.[83]

While Clearview's app is only supposed to be privately accessible to customers, Gizmodo found the Android application package in an unsecured Amazon S3 bucket. In addition to application tracking (Google Analytics, Crashlytics), it contains references to Google Play Services (Firebase or AppMeasurement), requests precise phone location data, and appeared to have features for voice search, sharing a free demo account to other users, augmented reality integration with Vuzix, and sending gallery photos or taking photos from the app itself. There were also references to scanning barcodes on a drivers license and to RealWear.[84]

TechCrunch found the application for Apple iOS devices in an unsecured S3 bucket. The instructions showed how to load an enterprise (developer) certificate so the app could be installed without being published on the App Store. Clearview's access was suspended, as it was against Apple's terms of service for developers.[85] This "effectively disables the app".[86]

Buzzfeed discovered that Clearview also operates a secondary business, Insight Camera, which provides AI-enabled security cameras. It is targeted at "retail, banking and residential buildings". Two customers have used the technology, United Federation of Teachers and Rudin Management.[87][88]


Documents from Clearview have claimed 98.6% or 100% accuracy while using their standard 99.6% confidence interval. Clearview provided an October 2019 document to the North Miami Police Department indicating they used a public review panel, consisting of Jonathan Lippman (former Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, currently at Latham & Watkins, introduced via Richard Schwartz), Nicholas Cassimatis (businessperson), and Aaron Renn (formerly at Manhattan Institute) while using the methodology that ACLU used to test Amazon Rekognition. Jacob Snow of the ACLU responded, stating Clearview's test "couldn't be more different than the ACLU's work", pointed out the accuracy flaws and lack of actual racial bias methodology, and objected to Clearview implying that ACLU might endorse their "dangerous and untested surveillance product".[89][90][91][92]


Customer list[edit]

Following a data leak of Clearview's customer list, Buzzfeed confirmed that 2,200 organizations in 27 countries have accounts with activity. Some may only have had trial access, and many organizations denied any connection to Clearview.[93]

American law enforcement and government
Commercial and other non-government entities
International law enforcement


New Zealand

The New Zealand Police used it in a trial after being approached by Clearview's Marko Jukic in January 2020. Jukic said it would have helped identify the Christchurch mosque shooter had the technology been available. During the police's trial they searched for people "of Māori or Polynesian ethnicity", as well as "Irish roof contractors" to determine its bias and accuracy. This raised strong objections once exposed, as neither the users' supervisors or the Privacy Commissioner were aware or approved of its use. After it was revealed by RNZ, Justice Minister Andrew Little stated "I don't know how it came to be that a person thought that this was a good idea", going on to say "It clearly wasn't endorsed, from the senior police hierarchy, and it clearly didn't get the endorsement from the [Police] Minister nor indeed from the wider cabinet ... that is a matter of concern."[114][115][116]


Clearview's technology was used for identifying an individual at a May 30, 2020 George Floyd police violence protest in Miami, Florida. Miami's WTVJ confirmed this, as the arrest report only said she was "identified through investigative means". The defendant's attorney did not even know it was with Clearview. Ton-That confirmed its use, noting that it was not being used for surveillance, but only to investigate a crime.[117]

Notable associates[edit]

The New York Times described early use of Clearview's app as "a secret plaything of the rich", describing it as a perk given to potential investors in their Series A fundraising round. Billionaire John Catsimatidis, a friend of Richard Schwartz, used it to identify someone his daughter dated to "make sure he wasn't a charlatan" and piloted it at one of his Gristedes grocery market in New York City to identify shoplifters. Investor Hal Lambert of Point Bridge Capital described having the app and showing it to friends. Investor David Scalzo, founder of Kirenaga Partners, said that his "school-aged daughters enjoyed playing with the app". Doug Leone, a potential investor at Sequoia Capital, was given access, which was revoked after Sequoia declined to invest. Actor and investor Ashton Kutcher described an app in September 2019 that was likely Clearview. After testing Clearview for accuracy, Nicholas Cassimatis was allowed to continue using the app and described demoing it to people "like a parlor trick".[118][119] Noted far-right "troll king" Charles C. Johnson had an account on Clearview as well as Tor Ekeland and Palmer Luckey.[100]

Clearview hired Jessica Medeiros Garrison, a Republican operative who managed Luther Strange's Alabama Attorney General campaign, then became Chief Counsel and Deputy Attorney General the following year. She successfully sued blogger Roger Shuler for defamation related to her and Luther Strange.[1][120][121][122] In a court case involving campaign finance violations by Democratic Alabama state senator Lowell Barron, Barron's attorneys accused Strange of paying $350,000 to Garrison. Garrison was later the director of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) during a period where it was involved in sending dark money to Luther Strange, which was returned after the transaction was uncovered, having violated Alabama campaign finance law.[123] Garrison also worked for Balch & Bingham until May 2017. Balch & Bingham is a law firm closely associated with Jeff Sessions's political career and also one of his largest donors.[124]

The AI Now Institute linked Clearview with the Banjo surveillance platform, as both have far-right ties, though Banjo doesn't have the explicit far-right algorithmic goals of Clearview does. Other historic Silicon Valley links to far-right ideology mentioned include Jeffrey Epstein, William Shockley, and James Damore.[125]

Legal challenges[edit]

The company's claim of a First Amendment right to public information has been disputed by privacy lawyers such as Scott Skinner-Thompson and Margot Kaminski, writing in Slate that Clearview's position was a "simplistic argument", that the "First Amendment is often weaponized to undermine our privacy interests", highlighting the problems and precedents surrounding persistent surveillance and anonymity.[6][126] Former New York City Police Commissioner and executive chairman of Teneo Risk Chief Bill Bratton challenged privacy concerns and recommended strong procedures for law enforcement usage in an op-ed in New York Daily News.[127]

After the release of The New York Times January 2020 article, lawsuits were filed by the states of Illinois, California, Virginia and New York, citing violations of privacy and safety laws.[128] Most of the lawsuits were transferred to New York's Southern District. Two lawsuits were filed in state courts; in Vermont by the attorney general and in Illinois on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, which cited a statute that forbids the corporate use of residents' faceprints without explicit consent. Clearview countered that an Illinois law does not apply to a company based in New York.[129]

In response to a class action lawsuit filed in Illinois for violating the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), in May 2020 Clearview stated that while they disagreed that they were subject to BIPA (as they are based in New York, not Illinois), they instituted a policy to stop working with non-government entities and to remove any photos geolocated in Illinois. In their May response Clearview stated they have "never experienced a data breach related to personal information". Clearview is represented by Jenner & Block for the case. The ACLU stated, "These promises do little to address concerns about Clearview's reckless and dangerous business model."[130][131][94][132]

On May 28, 2020, ACLU and Edelson sued Clearview in Illinois using the BIPA. Describing the lawsuit, ACLU said "it will end privacy as we know it if it isn't stopped", going on to state "Clearview has created the nightmare scenario that we've long feared, and has crossed the ethical bounds that many companies have refused to even attempt." Clearview's Tor Ekeland called it censorship, and stated "The First Amendment forbids this." In response, ACLU's Nathan Freed Wessler stated the First Amendment "does not shield Clearview's unlawful conducts.... Capturing a face print is conduct, not speech."[133][134][135][136][137][138][139]

Clearview hired Tor Ekeland and Lee Wolosky of Jenner & Block for its legal team.[129] Ekeland used Section 230 in his defense of Clearview in the lawsuit by the Attorney General of Vermont.[41] Techdirt's Tim Cushing analyzed the arguments, stating "In essence, the lawsuit isn't about objectionable content hosted by Clearview, but objectionable actions by Clearview itself. That's why Section 230 doesn't apply. I'm not sure how the local court will read this, but it would seem readily apparent that Section 230 does not immunize Clearview in this case."[140] The company also hired Paul Clement, a former Solicitor General and former acting United States Attorney General to help assuage privacy concerns.[1]

In August 2020, The New York Times reported that Clearview had hired First Amendment and Pentagon Papers lawyer Floyd Abrams. Abrams has argued 13 cases in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, most notably Citizens United v. FEC, and stated that the issue of privacy rights versus free speech in the First Amendment could reach the Supreme Court.[129]

In January 2021, Clearview AI's biometric photo database was deemed illegal in the EU by the Hamburg data protection authority (DPA). The deletion of a affected person's biometric data was ordered. The authority stated that GDPR is applicable despite the fact that Clearview AI has no European branch.[141] In March 2020, they had requested Clearview AI's customer list, as data protection obligations would also apply to the customers.[142] The data protection advocacy organization NOYB criticized the DPA's decision as the DPA issued an order protecting only the individual complainant instead of an order banning the collection of any European resident's photos.[143]

In July 2020, Clearview AI announced that it was pulling out of the Canadian market amidst joint investigations into the company and the use of its product by police forces.[144] Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada condemned Clearview AI's use of scraped biometric data in February 2021.[145]

What Clearview does is mass surveillance and it is illegal. It is completely unacceptable for millions of people who will never be implicated in any crime to find themselves continually in a police lineup.

— Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada

In June 2021, Therrien found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had broken Canadian privacy law through hundreds of illegal searches using Clearview AI.[146]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hill, Kashmir (January 18, 2020). "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 18, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Clearview AI Says Its Facial Recognition Software Identified A Terrorism Suspect. The Cops Say That's Not True". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved January 23, 2020. As it signed deals, Clearview continued to misrepresent its relationship with the NYPD. It used images of the suspect from the Brooklyn bar beating in an October email sent through CrimeDex, a crime alert listserv used by police across the nation. In that email, which BuzzFeed News obtained via a public records request to the Bradenton, Florida, police department, a random man whose image was taken from an Argentine LinkedIn page is identified as a "possible match." His name, however, does not match the name of the person who turned himself in to the NYPD.
  3. ^ "Law enforcement is using a facial recognition app with huge privacy issues". Engadget. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  4. ^ O'Brien, Luke. "The Far-Right Helped Create The World's Most Powerful Facial Recognition Technology". Huffington Post Australia. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "Twitter demands AI company stops 'collecting faces'". BBC News. January 23, 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Ng, Alfred. "Clearview AI hit with cease-and-desist from Google, Facebook over facial recognition collection". CNET. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  7. ^ What We Learned About Clearview AI and Its Secret ‘Co-Founder’
  8. ^ Council, Jared (January 8, 2021). "Local Police Force Uses Facial Recognition to Identify Capitol Riot Suspects". The Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ Council, Jared (June 12, 2020). "Facial Recognition Companies Commit to Police Market After Amazon, Microsoft Exit" – via
  10. ^ Hill, Kashmir; Dance, Gabriel J. X. (February 7, 2020). "Clearview's Facial Recognition App Is Identifying Child Victims of Abuse". The New York Times. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  11. ^ "Google tells facial recognition startup Clearview AI to stop scraping photos". Engadget. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  12. ^ Smith, Thomas (March 23, 2020). "I Got My File From Clearview AI, and It Freaked Me Out". OneZero. Retrieved March 24, 2020. To the company's credit, Clearview's system is not just a privacy pariah. It's also a breakthrough technology for investigating abhorrent crimes like child sexual abuse. As the Times reports, in one case Clearview helped to catch an alleged predator based on a reflected face in an unrelated photo posted at a gym. It's also a powerful tool for solving long-abandoned murders, and all manner of other cold cases.
  13. ^ "Clearview's Facial Recognition App Has Been Used By The Justice Department, ICE, Macy's, Walmart, And The NBA". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  14. ^ Somerville, Heather. "Facial-Recognition Startup Clearview Moves to Limit Risk of Police Abuse". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  15. ^ "TIME100 Most Influential Companies 2021: Clearview AI". Time. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  16. ^ "EPIC PCLOB letter" (PDF). Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "Backlash grows against Clearview as lawsuit looms". The Daily Dot. Retrieved January 27, 2020. On Monday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and more than 35 other organizations including Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Color of Change, and Free Press Action, sent a letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent agency in the executive branch, recommending the suspension of facial recognition systems in the federal government, citing Clearview AI's relationship with law enforcement.
  18. ^ "U.S. Board Should Seek Facial Recognition Halt, Groups Say (1)". Retrieved January 27, 2020. "Obvious problems with bias and discrimination in the systems" show the need for a moratorium, 40 organizations wrote in a letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
  19. ^ "Government privacy watchdog under pressure to recommend facial recognition ban". TheHill. Retrieved January 27, 2020. The letter cited a recent New York Times report about Clearview AI, a company which claims to have a database of more than 3 billion photos and is reportedly collaborating with hundreds of police departments.
  20. ^ Mak, Aaron (February 7, 2020). "Clearview's Terrifying Facial Recognition Can't Go Back in the Bottle". Slate Magazine. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  21. ^ "The person behind a privacy nightmare has a familiar face". Retrieved January 23, 2020. I wrote about Ton-That in February 2009 ("scathingly," Hill writes), when he was living in San Francisco, developing first Facebook and then iPhone apps. He made the news for creating ViddyHo, a website that tricked users into sharing access to their Gmail accounts — a hacking technique known as "phishing" — and then spammed their contacts on the Google Talk chat app. (The episode does not appear on Ton-That's sanitized personal website.)
  22. ^ "Phishing Attacks Increase After Gmail Outage". Redorbit. Retrieved January 23, 2020. San Francisco police are searching for a man who reportedly registered the ViddyHo domain under the name Cam-Hoan Ton-That.
  23. ^ Snyder, Gabriel. "ViddyHo Worm Sweeping Through IM". Gawker. Retrieved January 23, 2020. Here's a bit of a public service announcement: If someone asks you over IM to "Hey check out this video!" they foolishly fell for the just-breaking ViddyHo virus. Don't follow them.
  24. ^ Thomas, Owen. "Was an 'Anarcho-Transexual Afro-Chicano' Behind the IM Worm?". Gawker. Retrieved January 23, 2020. Ton-That frequently posted on Twitter about going to Sugarlump, an overwroughtly hip San Francisco "coffee lounge" in a rough-hewn but gentrifying corner of the Mission District, the preferred neighborhood of twentysomething Web developers. HappyAppy's office address is listed as 25 Stillman Street, a classically South of Market location for a startup. (In fact, it was once the home of Socializr, Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams's current company.)
  25. ^ "Internet Worm Linked to San Francisco Man | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved January 23, 2020. The site Venture Hacks lists Hoan Ton-That as the sole member of HappyAppy Inc, a relationship that was confirmed by Hoan's lawyer, Andre Gharakhanian of Silicon Legal Strategy.
  26. ^ Thomas, Owen. "'Anarcho-Transexual' Hacker Returns with New Scam Site". Gawker. Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  27. ^ Krinsky, John; Simonet, Maud (March 24, 2017). Who Cleans the Park?. ISBN 9780226435589. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  28. ^ "A Maximus Postscript | The Village Voice". Retrieved January 23, 2020. In addition to obtaining special access to Turner, Hevesi charged, Maximus had an added edge because of its alliance with Schwartz, Giuliani's former senior adviser and the man who had shaped the administration's welfare policies. After leaving City Hall in 1997, Schwartz had started a new for-profit firm, Opportunity America, to help place welfare recipients in jobs. Schwartz won work with government and private businesses and later also enlisted to work with Maximus on its HRA contracts. His share of the contracts was expected to be worth about $30 million, records showed.
  29. ^ "The Welfare Estate". City Limits. June 1, 1999. Retrieved January 23, 2020. Then, on February 11, 1997, at age 38, Richard Schwartz announced he was leaving city government. The next day, he founded Opportunity America. His specialty would be corporate matchmaker, the missing link to help private-sector companies hire welfare recipients. But he promised in The New York Times that he wouldn't take advantage of his government experience to win consulting contracts with New York City.
  30. ^ Ghoshal, Abhimanyu (January 20, 2020). "The next big privacy scare is a face recognition tool you've never heard of". The Next Web. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  31. ^ "Scraping the Web Is a Powerful Tool. Clearview AI Abused It". Wired. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  32. ^ Read, Max (January 30, 2020). "Why We Should Ban Facial Recognition Technology". Intelligencer. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  33. ^ Linder, Courtney (January 22, 2020). "This App Is a Dangerous Invasion of Your Privacy—and the FBI Uses It". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved February 11, 2020.
  34. ^ "Controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI facing legal claims after damning NYT report". The Verge. Retrieved January 26, 2020. Clearview is also facing challenges from platforms in the wake of the NYT report. Twitter has sent Clearview a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the company stop scraping its platform for photos to include in its database. Twitter also demanded the company delete any existing data it may have obtained from the platform because using it to fill out a third-party database without user consent is against Twitter's policies. Clearview has acknowledged publicly that it built out its database in part by scraping social media profiles.
  35. ^ a b c "Twitter Tells Facial Recognition Trailblazer to Stop Using Site's Photos". Retrieved January 26, 2020. Twitter sent a letter this week to the small start-up company, Clearview AI, demanding that it stop taking photos and any other data from the social media website "for any reason" and delete any data that it previously collected, a Twitter spokeswoman said. The cease-and-desist letter, sent on Tuesday, accused Clearview of violating Twitter's policies.
  36. ^ "Twitter demands AI company stops 'collecting faces'". BBC News. January 23, 2020.
  37. ^ Matsakis, Louise. "Scraping the Web Is a Powerful Tool. Clearview AI Abused It". Wired. Retrieved January 26, 2020. Automated scraping violates the policies of sites like Facebook and Twitter, the latter of which specifically prohibits scraping to build facial recognition databases. Twitter sent a letter to Clearview this week asking it to stop pilfering data from the site "for any reason," and Facebook is also reportedly examining the matter, according to the Times. But it's unclear whether they have any legal recourse in the current system.
  38. ^ Errol Barnett. "Google, YouTube and Venmo send cease-and-desist letters to facial recognition app that helps law enforcement". Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  39. ^ Igor Bonifacic (February 5, 2020). "Google tells facial recognition startup Clearview AI to stop scraping photos". Engadget. Retrieved February 6, 2020. Following Twitter, Google and YouTube have become the latest companies to send a cease-and-desist letter to Clearview AI, the startup behind a controversial facial recognition program that more than 600 police departments across North American use. Clearview came under scrutiny earlier this year when The New York Times showed that the company had been scraping billions of images on the internet to build its database of faces. Google has demanded Clearview stop scraping YouTube videos for its database, as well as delete any photos it has already collected.
  40. ^ Cox, Kate (February 26, 2020). "Secretive face-matching startup has customer list stolen". Ars Technica. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  41. ^ a b Swan, Betsy (February 26, 2020). "Facial-Recognition Company That Works With Law Enforcement Says Entire Client List Was Stolen". The Daily Beast. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  42. ^ Zach Whittaker (April 16, 2020). "Security lapse exposed Clearview AI source code – TechCrunch". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 19, 2020. Ton-That accused the research firm of extortion, but emails between Clearview and SpiderSilk paint a different picture.
  43. ^ a b Luke O'Brien (April 7, 2020). "Far-Right Extremists Helped Create The World's Most Powerful Facial Recognition Technology". HuffPost. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  44. ^ Tom McKay. "Creepy Face Recognition Firm Clearview AI Sure Has a Lot of Ties to the Far Right". Gizmodo. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
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