Clearview AI, the creepy facial recognition company, is reportedly developing a surveillance camera

Clearview AI, the creepy facial recognition company, is reportedly developing a surveillance camera thumbnail
Not creepy at all.
Not creepy at all.

Image: Getty Images

By Matt Binder

Clearview AI, which scans the internet for photos for its massive facial recognition database, is reportedly working on a surveillance camera

According to a report by BuzzFeed News, Clearview AI is developing the camera through a sister operation called Insight Camera. The company is looking to create a product that can offer live, real-time facial recognition. 

BuzzFeed found the connection between the two companies after noticing a “security_camera” app in the code on Clearview’s web app. After the news outlet reached out to the company, Insight Camera’s website was taken down. The two companies did not mention their relationship on either website. However, similar code accessing Clearview’s servers were found on Insight Camera’s website. 

Two organizations that were beta testing the camera have been identified: the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and New York City-based real estate company Rudin Management. 

According to a UFT spokesperson speaking to BuzzFeed, it used Insight Camera to help its security team identify unauthorized individuals from entering its offices. UFT says the Insight Camera created its own on-site local database and the organization did not have access to Clearview’s larger database. Rudin Management said it no longer uses Insight Camera.

Last week, Gizmodo discovered links between Clearview and wearable technology company Vuzix. An earlier report from the New York Times highlighted Clearview’s interest in augmented reality glasses. BuzzFeed was able to verify the relationship after looking through Clearview search data connected to Vuzix-related accounts. The company later confirmed it sent its smart glasses to Clearview for testing.

Account data connected to another augmented reality wearable company, RealWear, were also uncovered by BuzzFeed. However, RealWear claims it has no working relationship with Clearview aside from selling a few devices to the company a year ago.

Clearview AI was thrust into the spotlight after a New York Times report detailed how the company was scraping social media and the rest of the internet for public photos in order to create a massive facial recognition database. Clearview has collected billions of photos and provided its technology to law enforcement as well as private companies.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube have all issued cease-and-desist letters demanding Clearview stop scraping its platforms for data. Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That claims, however, that his company’s methods are protected by the First Amendment. 

Just last week, Apple disabled Clearview AI’s app for violating its Enterprise Developer Program rules.  A recent report from The Daily Beast also discovered that Clearview AI’s client list was hacked. 

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