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Clearview and the pictures taken from the socials


You may wonder what about the social networks with the face recognision, but actually there is a link. It’s called Clearview AI and it’s a system created by the co-founder of PayPal to allow the police to easier identify the people.

The database for the face recognision Clearview AI

Who isn’t registered to at least one social network raise your hand, between the ones that aren’t registered, who can say to have never posted a picture? Right thanks to the countless pictures posted on the socials the system supplies the database for the face recognision, everything starts from there, from the pitures put by the users on the social network, deliberately. Currently this database contains about three billion of pictures collected between social and web, and it’s the biggest database ever created.

The problem of the privacy starts from here: infact according to the experts this system will turn the tables about the privacy’s protection like we know it now.

Hoan Ton-That is the developer of the project Clearview AI

A small company called Clearview should be the creator of this innovation: its founder Hoan Ton-That is an australian engineer that collected images of faces from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and many other websites and socials, more or less important. After this Hoan gave everything to the american police that currently uses this datas to identify the guilty of a crime.

How does Clearview work?

But how does this system work? The police upload on the platform Clearview AI the picture of a suspect that though it’s not being identify yet. The system created by Hoan finds the name of the person thanks to the informations found on the social networks and other web sites, then the software gives them even other images, and it can even give name of contacts linked to him according to his networks.

Clearview AI uses an algorithm of face recognision similar to the one used already for a while in the United States. The difference is right in the database, the one of the police is linked to the amount of images found thanks to many sources (like the mug shots) and it’s mostly in local, which means that is linked to the region of belonging.

The FBI has 411 millions of them, we go down to 47 millions for the Florida and only 8 millions for Los Angeles. While the database of Clearview AI has 3 billions of pictures, which come from all over the world.

The pros and cons of the usage of pictures from the web

If from one side the thing can worry because it gives free access to the images of millions of people, from the other side it has many advantages.

clearview and facebook
The system collects the images uploaded by the users on the social networks

In february the police of Indiana was able to catch a murderer in a very short time. The researches started from the shot of a surveillance camera, so they had an image of the murderer, but he was uncensored, so he didn’t appear in the databases of the police. Furthermore he didn’t even have a driving license so it was impossible to recognise him.

Thanks to the endless database of Clearview, instead, in short time it was possible to recognise him and to prosecute him for the murder.

What is happening in Italy now

Even in Italy we are using systems of face recognision already, but, at least in theory, they are only filled with mug shots. By the way, even if formally they can’t do it, the jurisprudence allows the possibility, in some specific cases, to use even informations got illegally.

So what is happening in America can arrive here too, even though our stricht law about the privacy. It seems infact that the topic of the safety is passing the privacy one at many levels, the question so is: is better to be safer or protect our privacy?


This post is also available in: Italiano

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