Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter Tuesday to Clearview AI, pressing the controversial facial recognition company over its marketing in the Middle East and potential violations of child privacy laws.
This is the second time the Massachusetts lawmaker has inquired about Clearview, which has compiled billions of photos by scraping social media platforms and has contracts with several law enforcement agencies.
The company last week admitted that its entire client list was hacked, and subsequent reporting from BuzzFeed News revealed that well over 2,000 public and private organizations have used the facial recognition technology, which matches individuals’ faces with ones in the expansive database.
Reporting from earlier this month also found Clearview marketing to countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Recent reports about Clearview potentially selling its technology to authoritarian regimes raise a number of concerns because you would risk enabling foreign governments to conduct mass surveillance and suppress their citizens,” Markey wrote in Tuesday’s letter to Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That.
The letter also raised concerns that Clearview may be collecting and processing images of children, which could violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a law that sets restrictions on data collection from minors.
“I have grave doubts about Clearview’s ability to protect this sensitive data in light of recent reports that hackers successfully stole Clearview’s entire client list,” Markey wrote.
The chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology also sent a letter to Ton-That Tuesday expressing concern about the recent breach.
“We are deeply concerned about recent reports that indicated Clearview AI was breached and has ‘lost its entire client list to hackers,'” Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and ranking member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) wrote in their letter.