Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has started using highly controversial Clearview AI‘s facial recognition search engine, a service that isn’t available in Russia, according to a report published by Paresh Dave and Jeffrey Dastin of Reuters.
According to Clearview AI’s adviser and ex-diplomat under the Obama and Biden administration, Lee Wolosky, Ukraine will use its facial recognition technologies to detect “people of interest” during the war.
Ukraine adopted the technology on Saturday after the startup’s CEO, Hoan Ton-That, offered to help the Ukrainian government combat misinformation, identify Russian assailants, track refugees, reunite them with families, and identify the deceased.
Moreover, Ukraine can search for faces and vet potential suspects at checkpoints through this tech.
Ukraine Receives Free Access to Clearview AI
Reuters’ report confirms that Ukraine is receiving free access to Clearview’s powerful search engine. Interestingly, this technology wasn’t offered to Russia, and therefore, it isn’t yet available or accessible in the country.
The company took more than two billion photos from a Russian social network called VKontakte out of its database comprising ten billion photos for this purpose. The defense ministry has initially deployed the technology, but other Ukrainian government institutions will soon adopt it. The government is currently training employees to use the software.
About Clearview AI
Clearview AI is a US-based startup offering facial recognition technologies. In January, it received the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent. Its key clients are law enforcement authorities that use the technology for criminal investigations.
Clear View AI search engine was created using publicly available information such as social media profiles, mugshots, and news sites to match identical photos when scanned through the company’s patented facial recognition algorithm.