Clearview AI Reports Breach of Customer List

In a notification to customers, Clearview said an intruder gained “unauthorized access” to the list.
Facial Recognition
Image: John Lamb

Facial recognition company Clearview AI notified customers that an intruder had gained "unauthorized access" to its entire list of customers, The Daily Beast reports.

Clearview gained widespread attention in recent weeks after a wave of media coverage, starting with The New York Times in January. The company stands out from others due to its use of a database of over 3 billion photos the firm constructed by scraping images from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks and websites.


Clearview sells its product to law enforcement clients particularly in the U.S. The company's app allows a customer to point their phone's camera at a subject, or upload a photo into the system. Then, the system provides links to other photos and related social media profiles of the suspected person online.

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"Security is Clearview’s top priority. Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security," Tor Ekeland, an attorney working for Clearview, said in a statement to Motherboard.

The New York Times reported that law enforcement has used Clearview to identify child abuse victims. Buzzfeed News found that Clearview wants to sell its tool to authoritarian regimes.

Since the New York Times uncovered Clearview, New Jersey has banned police from using the tool, and various social networks have told Clearview to stop scraping their platforms.

Update: This piece has been updated to include a statement from Ekeland sent to Motherboard.

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