The troubles continue for the start-up Clearview AI, after the investigation devoted to it by New york times January 18. This company, hitherto discreet, has designed a gigantic database of images of people gleaned from the Internet: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. It sells software to the American police force, which can, from 'a simple image of someone, look for equivalences among these three billion images, in order to identify individuals. Nearly 600 American police services were won over by the proposal.
But this one, and the noise that followed the investigation of the New york times, did not please Twitter, Facebook and Google. In the wake of the post, Twitter demanded that Clearview AI stop using images found on its platform, arguing that this was prohibited by its policies. The social network was joined by Google and Facebook, CBS News learned Wednesday, February 5. The two companies have given Clearview AI formal notice not to stop all image collection on their sites.
Lack of consent
Google, which owns YouTube, said that “YouTube policies explicitly prohibit the collection of data that can be used to identify a person”. The company also deplores the fact that Clearview AI compared its activity to that of Google's search engine in order to defend itself. Clearview AI founder Hoan Ton-That, for example, said on CBS: “Google can extract data from all websites. So if it's public, if it's available, it can be in Google's search engine, and it can be in ours too. “.
To which Google responded:
“Most websites want to appear in our search engine, and we give webmasters control over what information on their sites they want indexed in our results, they also have the option of nothing being indexed. Clearview AI has secretly collected images of individuals without their consent. “
For its part, Hoan Ton-That believes it is acting legally. “Our system is designed to take only publicly available information”, he said. Launched in 2017, Clearview AI was initially funded by multi-billionaire Peter Thiel, founder of Palantir, a member of the Facebook board of directors and known to be close to Donald Trump.