Why are people who have nothing to hide so scary about Clearview AI face recognition?
The Australian government sacked Clearview AI earlier in the week after it was ruled that the company should not scratch and maintain its citizens' data.
If you or anyone else has uploaded a photo with your face in it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or just about any website, chances are you are in the Clearview AI database.
What does that mean? Clearview AI employees, millions of law enforcement agents, and anyone with access to company data (which was recently revealed in a major breach) can identify you as easy as sculpting an image with smartphone or uploading a photo to an app.
The Australian government decided that Clearview AI was a threat to its citizens. According to a report from Gizmodo:
In a statement, Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said that "covert collection of this type of sensitive information is unreasonably unfair and unfair," saying it "carries a risk. severe harm to individuals, including vulnerable groups such as children and victims of crime, and their images can be viewed on the Clearview AI database. "
Clearview AI founder Hoan Ton-That opposed the Australian ruling in an email to Gizmodo saying his product was an important tool for justice.
Under the same article, Ton-That said:
I grew up in Australia before moving to San Francisco at the age of 19 to pursue my career and to create technology related to the fight against crime that is known throughout the world. I am a dual citizen of Australia and the United States, both of which I have a deep concern for.
My company and I have worked for the good of both countries and their people by supporting law enforcement in solving major crimes against children, the elderly and the elderly. another suffers from misbehaving deeds.
We collect public data only from the open internet and adhere to all privacy and legal standards. I respect the time and effort spent by Australian officials evaluating aspects of the technology I have acquired.
It is entirely reasonable to assume that the founder of Clearview AI, employees, investors, and partners have an interest in pursuing justice.
However, if we are going to make assumptions, we should make sure that they are informed and evidenced.
For example, Clearview AI has deep connections to right-handed terminators.
According to this 2022 article by Luke O'Brien, Ton-That was a prominent figure in the right-wing movement as far back as 2015:
He had teamed up with more distant subscribers working to oust Trump as president. They included Mike Cernovich, a Trump-linked propagandist who led the almost deadly Pizzagate disinfection campaign; Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, non-Nazi hacker and webmaster for the Daily Stormer; and Pax Dickinson, a former Business Insider racist technology officer who went on to march with non - Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The article goes on to state that “secret co-founder,” white nationalist and racist Chuck Johnson at Clearview AI, intended to first use the product with ICE:
In January 2022, Johnson indicated on Facebook that he was “building algorithms to ID for illegal immigrants for the export squadrons. ”Soon, he was boasting to his friends and acquaintances that he was working on a powerful facial recognition device.
But none of this answers the question of why someone with nothing to hide about face recognition should worry about.
The answer is: for the same reason people in the U.S. should have trouble not expecting anyone to declare that they cannot hold and carry a weapon. Freedom from unreasonable harassment of government is in our Constitution because democracy is necessary for success.
When the US withdrew from Afghanistan earlier this year, some of its biometric equipment was left behind. As a result, the Taliban gained access not only to hardware capable of scanning fingerprints, magazines and faces, but also to the databases containing information on local civilians.
Anyone scanned by U.S. military forces was immediately identified to the Taliban. Now, we have since discovered that the group was able to send out a list of LGBTQPIA + people in Afghanistan to support groups in case they were found.
Thanks to U.S. military biometric equipment and databases, the Taliban do not have to rely on meticulous detective work to kill individual members of minority groups they hope to kill, they can simply identify everyone who sees them and shoots the ones whose algorithm matches their list.
But what if you are in the US, you are not sweeter, and you have nothing to hide?
I'll let you know something written by TNW co - founder Boris in one of his awful newsletters:
To say that you do not care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is as selfless as saying that you do not care about people being hungry, because you are not. You may want to live in a society where privacy is understood, but that same privacy holds your society in place.
The first thing dictators tend to do is take away people's privacy and their freedom to think about what they want. Just because you feel you have no secrets means that you live in a society where you can be the way you want to be. That's fine for you, but it should be an even greater cause for concern. The less confidentiality you have, the more you should value privacy.
As World War II and the conflict of the Vietnam War and the Gulf War taught us, there are limits to what should be allowed. in pursuit of safety and peace.
Right now, it’s the people who decide whether Clearview AI should be allowed to work and they have the law enforcement community.
These may not be the right people to determine participation rules when issues of high impact, such as the right to privacy under Constitutional protection guaranteed to all U.S. citizens, are involved.
In the end, none of us allowed Clearview AI to use our images. Ton-Sin fills its pockets selling product built on our photos. And you and I have not seen a penny of profit from it.
What Clearview AI does may not be illegal in the US, yet, but it's clearly unethical. Just take a look at how far the company has gone in trying to dispel any evidence on Ton-Sin linking to right-wing conspiracy theorists, non-Nazis, and white nationalists .
As it turns out, everyone has something to hide or something to lose when their privacy is removed.