from the clearly-there's-a-problem dept.
Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition company that scrapes public images from social media to aid law enforcement probes, has subpoenaed internal documents from some of the groups that first exposed its activities.
The firm served subpoenas in August to civil society coalition Open The Government, its policy analyst Freddy Martinez and the police accountability nonprofit that he’d previously founded, Lucy Parsons Labs — demanding any correspondence they’d had with journalists about Clearview and its leaders, as well as information they’d uncovered about the company and its founders in public records requests, over the last four years.
The subpoenas, obtained by POLITICO, could draw the groups into lengthy court battles and, they argue, dissuade others from taking on Clearview or other companies working on potentially problematic technologies.
David Brody, counsel and senior fellow for privacy and technology at the nonprofit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the move could be seen as an attempt to deter the advocacy groups, and journalists, from future investigations.
[...] Authorities have been using Clearview’s software for several years to try to match images in government databases and surveillance footage with billions of personal photos posted to the internet. Privacy, human rights and civil liberties advocates have long raised alarm about facial recognition technology as both intrusive and biased. It has been shown to disproportionately misidentify women and people of color.
Clearview's attorney Andrew J. Lichtman said in a statement that “Clearview AI is vigorously defending itself against claims in multi-district litigation and therefore has served subpoenas to appropriate parties relating to its defense.”