What is Clearview AI? How To Use

Brayden hillsides

In a technologically evolving world, the realm of facial recognition technology is burgeoning. One notable player in this domain is Clearview AI, a company that provides state-of-the-art facial recognition software to various entities, from law enforcement and government agencies to corporations and individuals. This article delves into the nuances of Clearview AI, its technology, and how it’s utilized.

Clearview AI: An Introduction

Clearview AI stands at the forefront of facial recognition technology, employing its algorithm to match faces with an extensive database of over 20 billion images meticulously indexed from the vast expanses of the Internet, including popular social media applications. The primary objective of Clearview AI’s platform is to support law enforcement by aiding in the identification of suspects, witnesses, and victims, ultimately expediting case resolution and enhancing public safety.

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The Accuracy Claims

A distinguishing feature of Clearview AI’s technology is its purported accuracy. The company claims an extraordinarily high level of precision, citing figures such as 98.6% or even 100% accuracy within their standard 99.6% confidence interval. This accuracy has propelled the widespread adoption of Clearview AI’s technology, which has been embraced by over 600 law enforcement agencies in the past year.

Clearview AI Beyond Facial Recognition

Beyond facial recognition, Clearview AI has diversified its offerings with Insight Camera, a subsidiary business focusing on AI-enabled security cameras tailored for retail, banking, and residential applications. Esteemed entities such as the United Federation of Teachers and Rudin Management have availed themselves of this technology. The applications of Clearview AI extend beyond law enforcement, encompassing commercial enterprises, financial institutions, and transportation companies for identity verification, fraud prevention, and enhanced security.

How To Use Clearview AI

To harness Clearview AI’s facial recognition prowess, one can follow these straightforward steps:

  1. Upload a Picture: Capture a photograph of a person or utilize an existing image, uploading it to Clearview AI’s platform.
  2. View Results: The algorithm swiftly compares the uploaded image against the extensive image database, presenting public photos of the individual and providing links to their appearances.
  3. Explore Applications: Law enforcement agencies leverage this technology to identify suspects, witnesses, and victims, streamlining case resolutions and bolstering public safety.

Addressing Privacy Concerns

The rise of Clearview AI has not been devoid of controversy, especially regarding privacy issues and the potential for false matches. Users concerned about their privacy can take specific actions to mitigate potential risks.

What is the controversy surrounding Clearview AI

The Clearview AI controversy revolves around privacy worries and how the company collects and uses facial recognition data. Here are the key concerns:

Illegal Database and Fines:

Clearview AI’s database, holding over 20 billion internet-scraped images, has been deemed illegal in multiple countries, leading to hefty fines.

Privacy Violations:

The company was fined in the UK for collecting people’s faces from the web without consent, breaching data protection laws and discouraging objections by requesting additional personal information.

Use by Law Enforcement:

Despite controversies, over 600 US law enforcement agencies use Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology. Critics fear mass surveillance and potential misuse, like false arrests.

Lawsuits and Settlements:

Facing legal challenges, Clearview AI settled a lawsuit, agreeing to operate under restrictions and maintain an opt-out system for Illinois residents due to accusations of unauthorized use of biometric data.

Public Defenders’ Perspective:

While some public defenders acknowledge the potential benefits of Clearview AI for identifying crucial eyewitnesses, others believe it doesn’t address fundamental problems within the criminal legal system adequately.

Is Clearview AI still in action?

Yes, Clearview AI is still in operation, but it’s mainly accessible to government agencies and specific private groups. Legal hurdles and privacy concerns have led to restrictions on its usage.

Clearview AI serves law enforcement and related organizations by helping identify suspects, witnesses, and victims to aid in investigations and bolster security.

Their system uses an algorithm to match faces against a vast database of over 20 billion images sourced from the Internet, including social media.

In May 2022, Clearview AI settled with the ACLU, resulting in a permanent ban on providing its faceprint database to most businesses and private entities across the country.

These restrictions also extend to Illinois, where Clearview AI is prohibited from selling its software, including to law enforcement, for the next five years.

However, the company can still offer its software to government contractors like Homeland Security and the FBI, ensuring compliance with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

As of June 2022, Clearview AI had over 3,100 U.S. agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, as its customers.


Clearview AI represents a milestone in facial recognition technology, showcasing unparalleled accuracy and applications that extend beyond law enforcement. However, ethical and privacy concerns are crucial considerations in the ever-evolving landscape of facial recognition technology.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How accurate is Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology?

Clearview AI claims an impressive accuracy level, with figures ranging from 98.6% to 100% within their standard confidence interval.

Q2: Are there concerns about privacy with Clearview AI’s technology?

Indeed, there are privacy concerns regarding Clearview AI’s technology, especially regarding the extensive image database and potential misuse.

Q3: Can individuals opt out of Clearview AI’s database to protect their privacy?

Yes, individuals can contact Clearview AI to request the removal of their photos and personal information from the database.

Q4: How is Clearview AI’s technology utilized beyond law enforcement?

Clearview AI’s technology extends its applications to financial institutions, transportation companies, and various commercial enterprises for identity verification and fraud prevention.

Q5: How does Clearview AI ensure the security of the data it collects?

Clearview AI’s security measures and data protection capabilities are currently a subject of ongoing scrutiny, given the sensitive nature of the data it collects.

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