Want your photo removed from our facial recognition database? Just send us your photo and government-issued ID…

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

You want your photo removed from our facial recognition database? Just send us your photo and scan of government ID...

My hunch is that you wouldn’t be happy when you find out a company has been scooping up the personal photos you upload to Facebook or Twitter, and feeding them into its facial recognition database without your permission.

But that’s precisely what a controversial firm you’ve probably never heard of called Clearview AI has been doing.

Clearview AI’s facial recognition app, fed by three billion photos harvested from social media sites and the wider internet, is reportedly used by law enforcement agencies across the globe, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

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Clearview AI never asked your permission to use your photo for their app. They just assume if it’s possible to do something, then there’s nothing wrong with doing it.

Now Twitter has apparently sent a cease-and-desist letter to the controversial outfit claiming Clearview AI has violated the site’s policies, and demanding that any collected data be deleted.

Of course, you could contact Clearview AI directly and demand that your data is removed. A quick read of their privacy policy reveals that all you need to do is email them at [email protected] with your name, a headshot, and err… a photo of your government-issued ID.

Remove data clearview ai

Uhh, yeah. Right.

“Americans have a right to know whether their personal photos are secretly being sucked into a private facial-recognition database,” says Senator Ron Wyden.

Well, yes they do. But they also should have the right to not have their photos stolen in this fashion without their informed and explicit permission in the first place. And they should have the right to have the facial recognition data deleted without having to send their photos to the very people who stole them in the first place.

Listen to the latest “Smashing Security” podcast where Carole Theriault discusses this story, and what Clearview AI is up to, in greater detail:

Smashing Security #162: 'Robocalls, health hacks, and facial recognition fears'

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Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

2 comments on “Want your photo removed from our facial recognition database? Just send us your photo and government-issued ID…”

  1. Spryte

    Will be doing that A.S.A.P. </sarcasm>

  2. Kickin1971

    A strong case for a Data Subject Access Request!

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