Coinbase Tests Clearview’s Controversial Facial Recognition Software
Clearview’s AI (artificial intelligence) based facial recognition technology has been successfully trialed by Coinbase, the US cryptocurrency exchange having more than 20 million views per month and more than 30 million trading accounts.
According to BuzzFeed News, Coinbase has refuted claims that its trial used client data. The contentious software has been the center of attention after a New York Times article brought to limelight the company’s database of more than three billion images, retrieved from “millions” of websites and social media platforms without authorization from users or media houses.
Major tech giants and social media platform providers, including Google, Facebook and Twitter has threatened to initiate legal proceedings against Clearview AI.
Even though Clearview’s CEO, Hoan Ton-That, had earlier asserted that the software was only employed by law enforcement departments and that its operations are centered on Canada and the US, as per an anonymous source that disclosed the total client list to BuzzFeed.
The record consists of thousands of firms from 26 countries.
Best Buy, Walmart and Macy’s, which are household names in the US, are part of the list, in addition to high schools, universities, government agencies, banks and several police departments.
Still the addition of Coinbase may raise eyebrows of think tanks in the crypto sector, which is marked by a strong urge for anonymity. One of the unnamed spokesperson of the exchange stated BuzzFeed that it was piloting Clearview for its “unique needs around security and compliance”.
The spokesperson has pointed out:
“Our security and compliance teams tested Clearview AI to see if the service could meaningfully bolster our efforts to protect employees and offices against physical threats and investigate fraud. At this time, we have not made any commitments to use Clearview AI.”
Although several enterprises listed in the client database seems to be testing the product via separate unique accounts, with a hand full of them piloting without upper echelons knowledge, Coinbase’s reaction indicates that the trial was authorized.
The likely mishandling of facial recognition technology, which is not presently under regulatory oversight in the US, has encouraged some states to look at the option of banning it totally through appropriate legislation.
One of the heads of Senoia Police Department opined that “It’s just like you giving a weapon to a police officer. You would hope that he uses it properly and doesn’t use it improperly and remembers his training. It’s a good tool if used appropriately and with caution.”
The company is yet to clarify whether they used the technology to screen likely employees or identify individuals who visited Coinbase’ work premises.