The gigantic Clearview databank with biometric facial data can identify any person on the street almost immediately. US Police officers successfully tested the application. But experts warn the abuse possibility and ask about privacy.

“When I put my photo into the app, a number of my other images from the last ten years appeared, including those I’ve never seen before,” said Kashmir Hill, the New York Times article author who personally tested the new technology in the presence of its creator. The system was able to find seven of her photographs even as she covered the lower part of her face with her hand.

The Florida Police Have Bought a License

While police can compare a driver’s photo with his electronically taken passport or driver’s license photo, Clearview looks for other images from around the virtual world to a specific person’s photo, including vacations, staff photos, social networks, school albums, and dating sites. And it assigns the individual a much more perfect and detailed identity. The application consists of more than three billion photos downloaded from the Internet.

Image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay

“With Clearview, you don’t just have to compare photos of people looking straight into the camera. You can use photos that are not perfect. One can be caught in profile, wearing a hat or even glasses, “said Nick Ferrara, a police officer from Gainesville, Florida, to the NYT. The system consists of a person’s image identity from many sources than police databases can provide.

Clearview lent the recognition application to the Gainesville Police Department for an examination. The application has proved very successful – thanks to it, the police allegedly detained dozens of criminals. Gainesville police paid $ 10,000 for an annual license to use Clearview.

Is It Legal?

Even in the US, where personal data rules are much more benevolent than in Europe, the new technology is also a cause for concern. Clearview defends himself by not doing anything illegal at all. It is based exclusively on public resources. People upload millions of photos to social networks every day.

There is no public customer list, and no one knows which authorities use this software. According to some experts, creating vast databases of Clearview photos may not comply with privacy law. It is impossible to say that everything a person voluntarily publishes can be used or traded by someone else.

Featured Image by Brian Marill from Pixabay