Clearview AI has billions of photos of innocent and unsuspecting users – Its entire list of clients was reportedly stolen by unknown hackers.
You reap what you sow is an old proverb, which has time and again proven to be true specifically in the cyber-world where companies exploit unsuspecting users’ data to fulfill their agendas – The very same goes for Clearview AI.
Clearview AI is currently bearing the brunt of its relentless penchant for privacy invasion of innocent users as the start-up has been hacked. The hackers were able to access its entire client list, which certainly is no ordinary feat. However, the company has gone into damage-control mode and claiming that the hackers couldn’t breach its servers.
The company’s attorney Tor Ekeland confirmed the hack attack but told TheDailyBeast that:
“Security is Clearview’s top priority. Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security.”
Reportedly, a hacker was able to gain unauthorized access to Clearview AI’s customers’ list that includes police forces, law enforcement authorities, and financial institutions; however, as the company claims the malicious actor couldn’t access the customers’ search histories.
Last month HackRead reported that Clearview AI is an infamous start-up that has raised privacy concerns for accessing and storing user information without their consent. The company has so far collected nearly 3 billion photographs of users from numerous social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
The information is shared with law enforcement agencies in the USA and is added to their facial-recognition database to identify suspects.
Clearview AI’s facial recognition app that allows anyone to snap a picture of a stranger anywhere and instantly learn about their name, address and any other details available online.
The unlawful practices of the company were exposed by The New York Times, which reported that Clearview AI shares the data with law enforcement to find unidentified suspects by matching their images with the online photos. Even if the user deletes the photo, Clearview AI keeps them stored in its database.
Soon after the revelations, Twitter, Facebook, and Google sent Clearview AI cease-and-desist notices while lawmakers in New Jersey banned law enforcement agencies from using its software/services.
In response to the allegations, the company’s founder and CEO Hoan Ton-That stated that he wants to establish a great American enterprise by offering life-saving technology to detect criminals, and the company’s practices are not wrongly intended as the software is never sold to other countries.
Nonetheless, any practice that involves the use of private data without asking for users’ consent first is unlawful and should be condemned. Perhaps, Clearview has gotten a taste of its own medicine now that its database of customers has been hacked.