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George Ma
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Legal
February 7 11:39

YouTube, Twitter demanded from Clearview AI to stop collecting user images.

Clearview AI was selling database with 3 billion photos to police and special agencies.
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Tech giants like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter demanded American startup Clearview AI to stop using photos of their users, according to Business Insider.
The New York Times first reported about Clearview AI in January 2020. The startup claims its system will help law enforcement agencies find criminals and their victims. Currently, the service database contains more than 3 billion images collected on Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other sites.
To find someone, simply upload person's photo in the system. The service will find his photos taken in public places and provide links to sources, the newspaper explains. According to Clearview AI, service finds up to 75% matches.
In January this year, Twitter sent a complaint. Later it was joined by other major companies, CBS News reports. Twitter demanded to erase all data gathered.
"YouTube’s Terms of Service explicitly forbid collecting data that can be used to identify a person. Clearview has publicly admitted to doing exactly that, and in response we sent them a cease and desist letter," Business Insider quoted YouTube representative Alex Joseph.
CBS became aware of several emails that Facebook had sent to the startup. CBS asked for information regarding company's policies and activities, and demanded that to stop using the data it owns.
Clearview AI's CEO, Hoan Tong-To, is convinced that his company does not violate American law. "The way we have built our system is to only take publicly available information and index it that way," he explained, noting that the company's attorney received the claims and will review them.
Now, Clearview AI tools are incorporated by over 600 law enforcement agencies in the US. A two-year subscription costs over US$50,000, Chicago Police Department stated to CBS.