In a sinister partnership that has all the makings of human rights violations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has inked a contract with facial recognition company Clearview AI this week, government contracting records show.
In the past, ICE has notably separated families and children, detained refugees indefinitely in inhumane conditions, and recently threatened to kick international students out of the country. Now, the agency is paying Clearview AI $224,000 for what’s only described as “mission support” and “Clearview licenses.”
Here’s why this pairing is especially concerning.
Clearview AI’s controversial history
Clearview AI has been under fire since an investigation from The New York Times earlier this year showed that its facial recognition technology was in widespread use among law enforcement agencies and private companies. Clearview’s technology could identify someone just from a photo and put names to faces through its database of over 3 billion images sourced from social media sites — often against these platforms’ rules.
Privacy advocates and leading tech companies alike have repeatedly condemned Clearview AI’s shady data-gathering tactics. In February, Facebook, Google, and countless other sites filed cease-and-desist letters to the firm and ordered it to remove data in violation of their respective ToS agreements.
Especially concerning is the firm’s close relationship with the police, especially considering the current climate and the possible links to racial profiling and tracking of protesters.