Face recognition technology using social media to identify suspects for police

Whether you’re an over sharer or hardly on social media at all, an app called Clearview wants to use your pictures to work with law enforcement agencies.

“Any type of technology to get bad people off the street? Then I'm all for it,” said Belmont resident Shaun Auxier.

Clearview AI is a face recognition company out of New York. It’s created a database of billions of faces across the internet, and uses them to identify people.

Clearview's website says the technology works like a search engine using pictures and images from police to find similar faces in images on the internet. They say the app helps police track down dangerous criminals quickly and accurately. Some wonder, however, how accurate the software really is, and question the risks involved.

“It is really troubling to us any time a private company is working with law enforcement on data that's gathered on everyday Americans,” said American Civil Liberties Union rep, Molly Rivera. “We just have a lot of questions about how that data is being used,” she said.

Clearview’s website states it only uses public information, is in full compliance with the law and, according to an independent panel of experts, is 100 percent accurate across all demographic groups.

Rivera disagrees.

“This technology is not reliable,” she said. “Just a few months ago, a massive government study of nearly 200 face recognition algorithms confirmed the technology is flawed and biased.”

That study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found many facial recognition systems misidentify people of color more than white people.

FOX 46 emailed Clearview with a list of questions, but did not hear back. CMPD told FOX 46 they didn’t think they use Clearview technology, but they weren’t positive.