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03 Mar, 2020
Facial Recognition Company Hit by Happy Hackers

Clearview AI, the much talked about facial recognition company, has intimated its clients about a critical hacking of its customer database which includes some of the most powerful law enforcement agencies in the United States. As per the notification given to the Daily Beast, hacked data bank includes customer names, the user accounts that the customers had set up, and even the number of searches that they ran through the service. The details of the digital data theft is not yet clear with Clearview AI denying any data breach of its own servers including the search histories of any of the law-enforcement agencies using the system and the image database.

ESET Security Specialist Jake Moore says the following on the matter: "Data breaches might be part of life in the 21st century but we need to make sure the severity is kept to a minimum and the data exposed is heavily encrypted. Any data breach is serious and should not be taken lightly. If the data exposed had included faces, it would have taken this to the next level."

"Companies which hold extremely sensitive data such as facial identities need to understand they are a higher profile risk and need even more layers of protection to thwart these inevitable attacks," he added.

Clearview AI has been at the center of media attention after the New York Times wrote that the company had scraped over 3 billion images from social media such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The company received cease-and-desist letters from the concerned social media giants, claiming Clearview AI had violated their terms of use. However the company, which has also been targeted with class-action lawsuits by American citizens, seems unperturbed by it saying it had a First Amendment right to scrape public data.

Facial recognition is a current hot item of discussion for the underlying privacy concerns and the potential for misuse of the technology. San Franciscowas the first city in the United States to ban its use by law enforcement and local agencies. In the meantime, the European Union mulled a temporary ban on the use of the technology in public places, but eventually withdrew it.

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