Second query comes after company announced last week that its entire client list was stolen after being hacked


Boston (March 3, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today raised new concerns about Clearview AI’s facial recognition app. Senator Markey initially wrote to Clearview in January 2020 with concerns about how the company’s app might violate Americans’ civil liberties and privacy. Clearview’s response to Senator Markey’s initial questions – which the Senator called “unacceptable” in its deficiency – and subsequent reporting has revealed that Clearview is marketing its product to users in foreign countries with authoritarian regimes such as Saudi Arabia, and also that Clearview might be collecting and processing images of children from social media sites. Last week, the company reported its entire client list was stolen after it was hacked, with news reports revealing that, contrary to CEO Hoan Ton-That’s assertions that its clients only included law enforcement entities, Clearview has clients such as Macy’s, Bank of America, and Kohl’s Department Store.


“Contrary to your claim that Clearview is ‘like other companies who operate facial recognition software,’ Clearview is a clear outlier: it scrapes billions of photos from social media sites rather than using relatively limited sets of photos from existing government databases,” writes Senator Markey in his letter. “Recent reports about Clearview potentially selling its technology to authoritarian regimes raise a number of concerns because you would risk enabling foreign governments to conduct mass surveillance and suppress their citizens.”


A copy of the letter to Clearview can be found HERE.


In his letter, Senator Markey presses Clearview to provide answers to questions that include:

  • Does Clearview plan to sell its technology outside of the U.S.?
  • How can Clearview guarantee that its technology will not enable repression and human rights abuses?
  • What steps has Clearview taken to ensure that it is in compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act?
  • Were any facial images or other personally identifiable information accessed as part of the recent hack?
  • If personally identifiable information was compromised as a result of this data breach, will Clearview commit to notifying every individual whose data was compromised? 
  • Will Clearview comply with the cease-and-desist orders that it has received from internet platform companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter?
  • Does Clearview have plans to integrate its technology and database with live facial recognition tools, such as augmented reality glasses? If so, will Clearview commit to halting all such integration given the grave privacy and civil liberty risks this would pose to the public?