A facial recognition company that reportedly swiped a massive trove of images from Facebook and other tech companies said it experienced a major security breach.
An intruder “gained unauthorized access” to Clearview AI’s list of customers and the number of searchers they have conducted, The Daily Beast reportedWednesday, citing a notification the company sent disclosing the heist. The intruders did not gain access to Clearview’s “systems or network,” the notification said.
“Security is Clearview’s top priority. Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century,” company attorney Tor Ekeland told The Daily Beast.
“Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security,” Ekeland said.
Clearview AI drew scrutiny after The New York Times reported in January that the company swiped 3 billion images from Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms. The NYT also noted that law enforcement agencies used the company’s technology to identify sex abuse victims.
Tech analysts say the breach is a big problem.
“If you’re a law-enforcement agency, it’s a big deal, because you depend on Clearview as a service provider to have good security, and it seems like they don’t,” David Forscey, the managing director of nonprofit Aspen Cybersecurity Group, told The Daily Beast.
Clearview AI uses technology that matches photos of unidentified victims or suspects with a database of photos. Twitter, Google and Facebook sent cease-and-desist letters after The NYT report revealed Clearview’s ploy.
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Iage: A man walks past a poster simulating facial recognition software at the Security China 2018 exhibition on public safety and security in Beijing, China October 24, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter