Facial recognition startup, Clearview AI, prepared for defense in privacy suits

CIOReviewIndia Team | Wednesday, 12 August 2020, 09:29 IST

Facial recognition startup, Clearview AI, prepared for defense in privacy suits

Clearview AI - a facial recognition company has reached for one of the most prominent First Amendment lawyers in the country to defend its case against various lawsuits. 


Abrams said in a phone interview said, “the litigation against the startup has the potential of leading to a major decision about the interrelationship between privacy claims and First Amendment defenses in the 21st century.” He also added that one day the underlying legal questions would reach the Supreme Court. 

Including the platforms such as Instagram and Linkedin, and sales access, Clearview AI has scrapped billions of photos from the internet for the resulting database to law enforcement agencies. This app will try to match the likeness and provide other photos of that person that can be found online when an officer uploads a video or a photo containing a person’s face. 

However, this will result in a critical threat towards one’s privacy as it will be possible for the corporate clients and government to identify nearly anyone with just a mere photograph. Furthermore, Clearview AI’s software not only gathers pictures without one’s consent, but its software will also analyze the images to generate a unique faceprint of each individual. 

Most of the suits have been transferred to New York’s Southern District, under Judge Colleen McMahon. Abrams plans to file his notice to appear in those cases this week.

Many lawsuits were filed against the company after The New York Times revealed the existence of Clearview AI in the starting of this year (January). States that opposed included California, Illinois, New York, and Virginia who alleged the company of violating privacy laws and seeked class-action status for the same.  These lawsuits - most of it - were transferred to New York’s Southern District, which falls under the jurisdiction of Judge Colleen McMahon. This week, Abrams is expected to file his notice so as to appear in those cases.

“Floyd Abrams is without peer as the nation’s preeminent First Amendment attorney, and it is clear that there are potentially groundbreaking First Amendment issues relating to the cases involving Clearview AI,” said Lisa Linden, a spokeswoman for the company. 


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