The Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability joined almost 70 civil liberties groups urging Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to order his agencies to discontinue – or at least clarify – their use of Clearview AI facial recognition software.
Clearview AI boasts that it has the largest database of facial images, more than 3 billion in all. Many of these are scraped from popular social media platforms in violation of those platforms’ terms of service.
“With one picture secretly taken with a cellphone or surveillance camera, a government agent without a warrant might access your religious and political beliefs, your home address and phone number, your work history and employer, pictures of your family, you name it,” said Erik Jaffe, president of PPSA. “With a snap, a government snoop can know everything about you.
“While many groups who signed this letter are concerned about how Clearview AI might be used, or misused, by a specific government agency, our concern goes further,” Jaffe said. “We signed this letter because we believe it is an important shot across the bow to warn Washington of technology that enables Panopticon levels of surveillance normally reserved for regimes that routinely repress political freedom.
“We hope this letter sparks the debate that is needed on how to restrain and govern the worrisome power of this technology,” Jaffe said.