On Tuesday, the Huffington Post reported that far-right extremists helped develop the facial recognition software of Clearview AI — a tech company that is partnering with federal, state, and local law enforcement and which has raised red flags among civil liberties organizations.
"Clearview is the most powerful form of facial recognition technology ever created, according to [The New York Times]," wrote Luke O'Brien. "With more than 3 billion photos scraped surreptitiously from social media profiles and websites, its image database is almost seven times the size of the FBI’s. Its mobile app can match names to faces with a tap of a touchscreen. The technology is already being integrated into augmented reality glasses so people can identify almost anyone they look at."
Additionally, "Clearview has contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, BuzzFeed reported earlier this year, and FBI agents, members of Customs and Border Protection, and hundreds of police officers at departments nationwide are among its users."
"Exclusive documents obtained by HuffPost reveal that ... several people who have done work for the company, have deep, longstanding ties to far-right extremists," wrote O'Brien. And the ties go all the way up to the CEO and founder, 31-year-old Australian-born hacker Cam-Hoan Ton-That.
"By 2015, [Ton-That] had joined forces with far-right subversives working to install Trump as president," wrote O'Brien. "They included Mike Cernovich, a Trump-affiliated propagandist who spearheaded the near-deadly Pizzagate disinformation campaign; Andrew 'weev' Auernheimer, a neo-Nazi hacker and the webmaster for The Daily Stormer; and Pax Dickinson, the racist former chief technology officer of Business Insider who went on to march with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia."
"In this far-right clique, two of Ton-That’s associates loomed larger than most thanks to their close connection to billionaire Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member and Trump adviser: Jeff Giesea, a Thiel protégé and secret funder of alt-right causes, and Charles 'Chuck' Johnson, a former Breitbart writer and far-right extremist who reportedly coordinated lawfare against media organizations with Thiel," continued O'Brien.
According to HuffPost, when it reached out to Clearview for comment, the company stated that "it had immediately parted ways with some of these people."
You can read more here.