Clearview AI, face-recognition tech startup, reports data breach
An American tech company that gathers millions upon millions of photographs for facial recognition purposes, called Clearview AI, had recently reported that the company’s database had been infiltrated by hackers who stole the entirety of its customer index.
The firm had also reported that the vulnerability that permitted the infiltration to occur, albeit not disclosed, had been fixed.
In an announcement, the tech firm’s lawyer Tor Ekeland had said that while security is the Clearview AI's top concern, "unfortunately, data breaches are a part of life. Our servers were never accessed." He had also said that the organization is in the process of and will continue to reinforce its protection against infiltrations and that the vulnerability had already been fixed.
Clearview AI continues "to work to strengthen our security," Ekeland said.
In a warning sent by the company to its clients, which was acquired by Daily Beast, Clearview AI had stated that a hacker "gained unauthorized access" to its list of clients, among which are banks, law requirement and police agencies. The tech firm said that the infiltrating party had not gained access any client image search records in the breach.
The company received criticism for its controversial practices last month after a New York Times expose uncovered that the firm's tech permitted law enforcement offices to utilize it in order to correlate photographs of previously unidentified individuals to images of faces posted on the web. What drew the most attention was the fact that Clearview AI stores those photographs on its servers long after the owners remove them from their profiles or switch their account settings to private.
This controversy cued tech behemoths Twitter (TWTR), Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) to send out cease-and-desist letters to Clearview AI. Several US states, for example, New Jersey, even implemented a restriction law enforcement officials utilizing Clearview tech while the company is being investigated.
Clearview AI boasts that it has aggregated in excess of 3 billion photographs from the web, among which are photographs from prominent social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Controversy aside, Clearview AI founder and CEO Hoan Ton-That attempted to dissuade the public from worry in an interview with CNN Business in early February. He said he wants to build a "great American company" with "the best of intentions." He also added that he wouldn't offer his system to Iran, Russia or China and asserted that the company is protecting children and helping solve crimes.