Imagine walking down the street with a pair of glasses that can identify every person you see, down to their interests, friends, and even where they live. This technology is no longer the thing of a sci-fi novel – it is at the fingertips of a company called Clearview AI. The dystopian future of a mass surveillance state will become a reality if, according to a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, companies like Clearview are left unchecked.
The 32-page lawsuit out of California describes how Clearview and its owners have illegally “scraped” photos from thousands of websites in order to build a database containing about 3 billion images of human faces. Using facial recognition software, Clearview created “faceprints” to identify individuals and information about them, according to the lawsuit. A faceprint is created by measuring facial geometry, e.g., the distance between the eyes, and storing the information as a string of data points that can be used to identify the person. If that was not bad enough, the company then sold access to the billions of faceprints to a wide range of third parties, all without consumers’ consent, in violation of various states’ privacy laws. While Clearview contends its database is intended to be used for law enforcement purposes, the reality is Clearview’s client list includes private retailers, such as Macy’s. Clearview is at the helm of creating a mass surveillance state and with it an erosion of privacy for billions of people.
The case seeks to cover individuals in Illinois and California whose faceprint was collected or used by Clearview without consent. A copy of the Complaint can be found here. If you uploaded a photo of yourself to the web, like Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc., in the last two years you may have legal claims against Clearview. If so, please contact us to learn more about this investigation.
Click here to read the complaint.