How Clearview abuses our data
First things first: As a citizen of Europe or California, privacy laws such as the GDPR or the CCPA enable you to demand from Clearview to delete your data.
We call on every citizen of Europe and California to force Clearview to delete their data. Here's how.
Clearview collects pictures posted online, combines them in a huge database and lets others - law enforcement agencies, companies, but also some elites - search for your data.
While Clearview claims that it only collects publicly available pictures, the scandal is that no one has opted in to this usage of their pictures when uploading them. But that's not all: Pictures are also scraped if someone else uploaded your picture without asking for your consent.
The real scandal here is that governments let Clearview continue to operate. That individuals must refuse "their consent" despite the fact that no one ever gave consent to this abuse. Even worse: Only people in the European Union, the UK, Switzerland and California, US, get a chance to "refuse consent" because of privacy protection laws.
Everybody else doesn't even get the chance to complain.
Why you should opt out of Clearview
In case you are not yet convinced to make the effort of opting out, read Anna Merlan's post on what data Clearview has on her and where it got the pictures from.
It's incredibly scary that anyone can take any picture of you, upload it to the web, and some system scrapes it and sells your data to others: governments, marketing agencies, or whoever is interested on spying on other people.
The software also combines the pictures with other information, like names, social security numbers, holiday information, CVs. It can be any information that was posted along with the pictures.
This software denies every citizen to control their own pictures, their own identity.
Cleaview has become one of the worst surveillance apps
Jeramie D. Scott, senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, comments on Vice: "The face search results show exactly why we need a moratorium on face surveillance. In a democratic society, we should not accept our images being secretly collected and retained to create a mass surveillance database to be used, disclosed, and analyzed at the whim of an unaccountable company. The threat to our Constitutional rights and democracy is too great. Our participation in society should not come with the price tag of our privacy."
How much is too much?
Clearview states on their website that the app is "available only for law enforcement agencies and select security professionals to use as an investigative tool."
However, this might not be entirely true. In search for investors, Clearview gave access to potential investors as a perk. For instance, the actor Ashton Kutcher, described an app just like Clearview on YouTube:
"I have an app in my phone in my pocket right now. It’s like a beta app. It’s a facial recognition app. I can hold it up to anybody’s face here and, like, find exactly who you are, what internet accounts you’re on, what they look like. It’s terrifying."
So can anyone use the Clearview app? No, it is not publicly available. However, it is obviously not just law enforcement agencies that have access to the app. To date, Clearview has not published a list of customers that are using the Clearview app right now. At this point, no one can know who might have access to this tool.
Besides, with the incredible amount of abuse you can do with this kind of information, it is only a matter of time until criminals will find a way to use, abuse, or rebuild the app.
Better start deleting all your online pictures now. Or go undercover, like these artists.