Google and YouTube want Clearview AI to stop scraping images and video for facial recognition...


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Earlier this week, YouTube sent a cease and desist letter to Clearview AI, a startup company that's infamous for gathering photos of people's faces. Google demands that data collection be stopped and the already collected images be deleted from the database.

The social giant says that Clearview AI violated YouTube's terms of service, which forbid any individual or company from collecting data that could be used to identify a person. After Twitter sent its cease and desist letter, Google followed in its footsteps, especially since Clearview AI has publicly admitted to scraping user information from public profiles.

During an interview with CBS News, Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That explained that while his company is tackling the legal letters, the service it runs is covered by the First Amendment. Hoan argues that it is his right to collect what's publicly available, in much the same way that Google indexes all public information on the web. He notes that "if it's public, you know, and it's out there, it could be inside Google search engine, it can be inside ours as well."

Google doesn't agree with Hoan's assessment of his use case, noting that "comparisons to Google Search are inaccurate. Most websites want to be included in Google Search, and we give webmasters control over what information from their site is included in our search results, including the option to opt-out entirely. Clearview secretly collected image data of individuals without their consent, and in violation of rules explicitly forbidding them from doing so."

Officially, Clearview AI's database includes around three billion images, but the more worrying aspect is that the company confidently claims a 99.6 percent accuracy for its algorithms. And while the company markets itself almost entirely to law enforcement, a series of leaked emails show Hoan encouraging users to "run wild" in testing the software on family, friends, and coworkers.

Clearview AI was also hit by a class-action lawsuit in Illinois for breaking the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which is a law that safeguards against having your biometric data used without explicit consent. Among the main concerns is the risk of false matches, as well as the possibility that people could abuse the service to stalk others.

Facebook told CBS News that it, too, is reviewing the company's controversial practices, but so far hasn't made any decision on what to do about it. The social giant is on thin ice when it comes to facial recognition, after being brought to court for silently doing it in the background using photos uploaded by its users.

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Posts: 3,187   +3,373
So Google and Yahoo's position is literally, "We're the only ones allowed to steal everything from the web." Search engines have never asked permission to index every site they can gain access to. For almost a decade Google literally copied and reposted the contents of online newspapers and has still never paid for this theft. They've indexed billions of images without permission. This is hilarious.
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Posts: 1,599   +905
Google and I believe most other search engines obey directives in robots.txt, noindex, etc and have since the beginning. Am I wrong?
If you tell Google not to Index your site, they won't. This is correct.

Google isn't objecting to Clearview's tech - because they do it themselves with all the content they do index - they are objecting to Clearview using Google to collect the data for their algorithms. They are using Google services (Google Search) to compete with Google services (Google Lens, Google Photos, probably some others).

If Clearview wants the data, they should create their own indexing agent, and go around and collect the data themselves.