Techno-Hell: AI Firm Scrapes 30 Billion Social Media Photos, Hands Them to Law Enforcement

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

One of the most notorious privacy-breaching tech companies in operation, Clearview AI, has, according to its CEO, scraped 30 billion social media photos, packaged and curated them, and passed them along to the surveillance state authorities to do with what they will (in the dark, with no oversight, naturally, as the Founders warned such authorities would if left unchecked).


Clearview’s collaboration with law enforcement reportedly includes handing over information to help identify and prosecute the January 6 “insurrectionists” currently being hounded by the FBI. (Check out an interview I previously published with a fully peaceful January 6 investigatee).

Via Insider:

A controversial facial recognition database, used by police departments across the nation, was built in part with 30 billion photos the company scraped from Facebook and other social media users without their permission, the company’s CEO recently admitted, creating what critics called a “perpetual police line-up,” even for people who haven’t done anything wrong. 

The company, Clearview AI, boasts of its potential for identifying rioters at the January 6 attack on the Capitol, saving children being abused or exploited, and helping exonerate people wrongfully accused of crimes. But critics point to privacy violations and wrongful arrests fueled by faulty identifications made by facial recognition, including cases in Detroit and New Orleans, as cause for concern over the technology. 


Let’s assume for the sake of argument that all of the social media images that Clearview gave to the police depicted Americans. With 30 billion images divided by the current American population of roughly 330 million, that’s 90.9 images, on average, of every man, woman, and child in the United States that Clearview gifted the police state with — irrespective of whether or not they were ever suspected of criminal activity.

Related: FOIA Requests Uncover Secret CDC Vaccination Status Tracking System

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows (emphasis added):

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Whether the law enforcement agencies that Clearview collaborates with technically violated the Fourth Amendment through their practices of indiscriminately collecting tens of billions of Americans’ likenesses is up for debate. Surely the company’s attorneys would argue that their client didn’t, and they may be right by the letter of the case law.


What is indisputably true, however, is that these law enforcement agencies violated the spirit of the amendment, demonstrating once again their unfitness to wield responsibly the power they are so graciously loaned — not given unconditionally in perpetuity — by the people they swore an oath to serve faithfully.


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