Artificial Intelligence: Hackers Raid Notorious Facial Recognition Startup Clearview AI

February 27, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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“Data breaches are part of life in the 21st century,” shrugs Clearview attorney.

Clearview AI, the facial recognition startup that allegedly scraped billions of photographs from websites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Venmo, has been hacked. The controversial company works with 600 law enforcement agencies in North America. It said the hackers “gained unauthorized access” to its entire list of customers. They also stole other data such as the number of accounts and searches. (Daily Beast)

According to the notification seen by the Daily Beast, there was no breach of the company’s servers. Further, Clearview immediately fixed the vulnerability. The notification also confirmed that the hackers could not attack the company’s systems or network, nor could they gain access to the search histories of the police departments.

Tor Ekeland, Clearview’s attorney, said Clearview set security as a top priority. “Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security,” he added. He confirmed that the criminals could not access the firm’s servers.

However, Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at ESET differs. “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. We cannot take it lightly. If the data exposed had included faces, it would have taken this to the next level.”

Cease-and-desist

In response to its photo scraping activities, tech giants Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) have served “cease-and-desist” orders on Clearview.

It is Clearview AI founder and CEO Hoan Ton-That’s view, however, that the US Constitution’s First Amendment protects the gathering of publicly-accessible photos.

In an interview with CNN Business, Hoan Ton-That said he wouldn’t sell the company’s data to Iran, Russia or China. He also said his firm had helped solve crimes and save kids.

Related Story:   Artificial Intelligence: Europe Envisages Strict Rules for High-Risk AI

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