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CLEARVIEW AI FAQs

Get answers to the most commonly asked questions about Clearview AI's facial recognition solutions.

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Is facial recognition legal in the U.S.?

Yes. Facial recognition technology is legal to use in the United States, including by law enforcement and government agencies. It is commonly used for various purposes in everyday life, such as unlocking phones, logging into websites, and security screening. Some U.S. jurisdictions place restrictions on the use of facial recognition technology, while others have statewide laws that require explicit consent before processing facial recognition data related to an individual. Most state privacy and biometric data laws have exceptions for public data or law enforcement usage. Clearview AI is compliant with all biometric and data privacy laws in every state where we offer our technology. 

Is Clearview AI banned in the U.S.?

No, Clearview AI is not banned in the U.S. It’s available in almost every state in the USA, except for states Vermont, New Jersey, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts and Montana, where there are various restrictions on uses of facial recognition technology.

Is Clearview illegal? 

No, Clearview AI’s technology is entirely lawful. Clearview AI technology is only available for government agencies and contractors, and its core customer market is in the USA. Clearview AI does not offer its technology in the EU, UK, Australia and Canada. 

Does Clearview AI offer its technology to entities found on U.S. sanction lists or the Unverified List?

No, Clearview AI does not offer or provide access to its technology product to any country or entity that is on the Unverified List, Specially Designated Nationals List, Entity List, Debarred List, Denied Persons List, sanctioned or partially sanctioned by the United States of America.

How is facial recognition used by the police? 

Clearview AI is used by law enforcement and police in an after-the-fact manner, not in real-time, and probe images are searched against a database of public images from the internet and separate customer private image galleries. This means, after a crime has been committed, only then do the police turn to facial recognition technology like Clearview AI to help with identification. Once a search is performed, the search may return a set of potential leads, which the investigator is required to independently verify by both peer review and other means, before continuing with their investigation.


How has facial recognition helped to catch criminals?
 

Facial recognition is used by law enforcement in an after-the-fact manner to assist with the identification of a criminal. After a crime is committed, facial recognition technology like Clearview AI may be used in the investigation process to help identify persons of interest, in addition to other methods of identification. For example, in 2019, the NYPD’s Facial Identification Section used other facial recognition products to identify 2,510 possible matches, including possible matches in 68 murders, 66 rapes, 277 felony assaults, 386 robberies, and 525 grand larcenies.

Why is facial recognition illegal in some municipalities?
 

Use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement and government agencies is not illegal in the USA. It is reported that only 25 city councils in the U.S. have a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by government agencies, with exceptions. Contrarily, more than half of U.S. adults trust law enforcement to use facial recognition responsibly (e.g. 77% of Illinois residents say using facial recognition to solve crimes is appropriate). 

 

 


Which states have banned facial recognition?
 

There are no states in the USA that have an outright ban on facial recognition for law enforcement usage. However, there are 4 out of 50 states with significant restrictions on facial recognition usage by law enforcement: Maine, Vermont, Montana and Massachusetts. ​


Is Clearview AI available to the public?
 

No. Clearview AI’s technology is not available to the general public. It is only provided to vetted law enforcement and government agencies that have been reviewed and approved by Clearview AI's legal department to ensure compliance with due diligence standards. Clearview AI has no plans to release its technology product, which consists of a 40+ billion public image database, to the general public. 


What companies use Clearview AI?

Clearview AI does not offer its search technology platform with the 40 billion + image database to private companies. It is currently only available to vetted law enforcement and government agencies and contractors performing work for those agencies. In 2019, Clearview AI had a handful of non-government customers in banking and retail, who used it for after-the-fact investigations to combat financial fraud and retail theft, but discontinued access for these select customers in early 2020.

Does Walmart use Clearview AI?

No. Walmart does not use Clearview AI. In 2019, Clearview AI had a handful of non-government customers in banking and retail who used it for after-the-fact investigations to combat financial fraud and retail theft, but discontinued access to these select customers, including Walmart, in early 2020.

Is Clearview still in business?

Yes. Clearview AI launched in 2017 and has remained in business since then, continuously growing and proudly serving its law enforcement and government customers.

What alternatives are there to using Clearview AI?

Clearview AI is the only technology platform available in the U.S. that offers its unique combination of web crawling and facial recognition capabilities while being in full compliance with data privacy laws. Clearview AI holds U.S. Patent No. 11,250,266, which covers this proprietary technology. There are currently no alternative technology platforms available in the U.S. that offer the same technological and legal compliance capabilities as Clearview AI.

What are some of the biggest concerns regarding the use of facial recognition technology?

Historically, one of the biggest concerns associated with facial recognition technology is alleged inaccuracies and biases, particularly racial and demographic biases. However, this perception is largely based on outdated studies and does not accurately reflect Clearview AI's technology, which has been independently tested by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and achieved high accuracy across all demographic groups in that testing.
 

A second concern relates to individual privacy and use of the technology to perform unrestricted mass surveillance, tracking, and profiling of individuals without their consent. Clearview AI's technology and platform addresses these privacy concerns, as its design and implementation (i) is for use by government agencies and law enforcement for post-event investigations and not for real-time surveillance and (ii) searches are performed only against publicly available online images. 

Is facial recognition surveillance?

Clearview AI is not a real-time surveillance tool. Clearview AI is designed for use in an after-the-fact manner for law enforcement investigations and to generate investigative leads.

Is facial recognition racially biased?

Bias in facial recognition technology is not inherent but depends on the quality of the technology and the data used, as well as the individual user reviewing facial recognition image search results. The best modern facial recognition algorithms have achieved statistically insignificant levels of inaccuracy and bias. Clearview AI's facial recognition algorithm has been independently tested by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and achieved over 99% accuracy across different demographics and genders in that testing. 

How accurate is facial recognition?

Facial recognition technologies have become increasingly accurate in recent years, with advancements rendering it more accurate and sophisticated than the human eye by training on diverse large datasets. Some of the top algorithms evaluated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), including Clearview AI’s, demonstrate minimal bias and achieve over 99% accuracy in matching photos out of a large scale database under NIST test conditions.

What does Clearview AI do to mitigate misuse of facial recognition technology?

Clearview AI has implemented several measures to mitigate misuse of its facial recognition technology. These include requiring peer review of search results, mandatory user training, audit features that enable administrators to  monitor user activity, mandatory user intake forms detailing the lawful purpose of the investigation, and requiring customers to train their own users and establish facial recognition usage policies. These controls are intended to ensure the responsible and appropriate deployment of Clearview's technology.

Does Clearview AI have access to my private data?

No, Clearview AI does not have access to your private data. Clearview AI is a search engine that searches images compiled from publicly available online sources. Depending on where you live, you may have the right to access and delete any of your images that may be included in Clearview's database. If applicable, to exercise this right, you can visit Clearview's Privacy Policy page for instructions on how to submit a request.

1 Is facial recognition legal in the U.S.?
2 Is Clearview AI banned in the U.S.?
3 Is Clearview illegal?
4 Does Clearview AI offer its technology to entities found on U.S. sanction lists or the Unverified List?
5 How is facial recognition used by the police?
7 Why is facial recognition illegal in some municipalities?
6 How has facial recognition helped to catch criminals?
8 Which states have banned facial recognition?
9Is Clearview AI available to the public?
10 What companies use Clearview AI?
11 Does Walmart use Clearview AI?
12 Is Clearview still in business?
13 What alternatives are there to using Clearview AI?
14 What are some of the biggest concerns regarding the use of facial recognition technology?
15 Is facial recognition surveillance?
16 Is facial recognition racially biased?
17 How accurate is facial recognition?
18 What does Clearview AI do to mitigate misuse of facial recognition technology?
19 Does Clearview AI have access to my private data?
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