Twitter tells facial-recognition app maker to stop collecting its data


Twitter is demanding an artificial intelligence company stop collecting data from the social media platform for its facial recognition database.

In a cease-and-desist letter sent this week, Twitter told Clearview AI it is violating its policies by collecting data for its facial recognition software, a Twitter official confirmed to The Hill on Thursday. 

The development was first reported by The New York Times

The cease and desist letter reportedly calls on Clearview AI to stop taking data from Twitter “for any reason” and delete any that was previously collected. 

Twitter prohibits users from using its platform for “facial recognition,” on its restricted uses page. 

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Clearview, which claims to have a database of more than 3 billion photos, is working with more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the last year. 

Clearview’s tool scans faces to identify individuals and can help law enforcement catch suspects. 

Law enforcement officials told the Times Clearview’s facial recognition app helped them identify suspects in criminal cases. 

Clearview amassed its database from photos on social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Venmo, according to the Times. 

Tor Ekeland, a lawyer for Clearview, told the Times the company received the letter and  “will respond appropriately.” 

An official for Clearview was not immediately available for comment. 

The company is also facing questions from lawmakers over its facial recognition software.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday sent a series of questions to Clearview’s CEO after reports that the company had been selling its facial recognition software to law enforcement. 

Markey said that the technology has “alarming potential to impinge on the public’s civil liberties and privacy.”

Tags Clearview Ed Markey Face ID Facial recognition system Surveillance Twitter

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