Senator demands answers from Clearview AI

Democratic Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts issued an open letter Thursday demanding answers from the creator of a controversial facial recognition app used by US law enforcement. The letter to AI CEO Hoan Ton-That follows just days after a New York Times investigation into the software company revealed its smartphone app’s ability to quickly gather and analyze individuals’ social media pictures and personally identifying data based on a single uploaded photo.

Markey’s letter requested information from Clearview, including a full list of any entities and law enforcement agencies currently using the technology, and details on any past security breaches as well as on Clearview’s employee access privileges. Markey also asked if Clearview’s technology is able to recognize whether the biometric information uploaded to its systems includes children under the age of 13.

“Any technology with the ability to collect and analyze individuals’ biometric information has alarming potential to impinge on the public’s civil liberties and privacy,” Markey wrote in his letter to Ton-That. “Clearview’s product appears to pose particularly chilling privacy risks, and I am deeply concerned that it is capable of fundamentally dismantling Americans’ expectation that they can move, assemble, or simply appear in public without being identified.”

Markey has previously questioned tech companies such as Amazon over the use of facial recognition technology. In November, a bipartisan Senate bill called for limits on the use of facial recognition technology by US law enforcement agencies.

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