The US Army has a contract with the controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI to use its algorithm for crime detection and prevention, Business Insider learned through the acquisition of public documents.
According to the report, the US Army granted Clearview AI a “discounted deal” for its AI algorithm produced for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. This subsector of the force is responsible for investigating crimes involving service personnel and civilian employees.
Signed in September 2020, the contract amounted to only $15,000 for five years of Clearview’s services. In total, the US Army bought 15 licenses from the company.
What Makes Clearview AI Controversial?
Clearview uses a face recognition algorithm that includes billions of photos uploaded to social media. Their program matches any photo scanned against photos from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms.
Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms have accused Clearview of violating their terms of service for unauthorized usage of videos and images.
Moreover, in one case in Florida, a police officer allegedly advised a fellow officer to keep the use of Clearview’s AI out of their report, according to information obtained by Buzzfeed News.
Analysts and advocates of privacy believe that if Clearview AI achieves top functionality in this technology, it would raise serious privacy concerns about whether people can go about their daily lives, even online, without being watched by the government.
Clearview AI Addresses Controversy
To address these concerns, Clearview AI on August 18 announced the formation of an advisory board to “help guide the ongoing development” of its technology and “ensure that it is used by government and law enforcement according to the highest professional standards to keep communities safe.”
The board consists of leading figures with experience in fields such as law enforcement, national security, and government.