This Frightening New Face Recognition App Is Something Straight Out of Black Mirror

It’s absolutely terrifying to think about someone watching you through your phone camera. A new app, named Clearview, is now using facial recognition technology to identify the general population and it’s raising a significant amount of concern because it would unknowingly reveal your identity to strangers.

Given the fact that Gen Z has spent most of their adolescence experimenting with phones and technology, they’re not unfamiliar with being guinea pigs as trends unfold. When Apple’s “Touch ID” was launched in 2013, there wasn’t as much concern about privacy was being invaded. Most recently in 2019, FaceApp kickstarted the “old face challenge” which allowed you to upload your own personal photos so that the application could age your features.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When you take a trip to the Year 3000.

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There was no outright concern about what the application was doing with photos after they were uploaded—until speculations came about that app creator, Yaroslav Goncharov, was selling photos to a third-party source (This is a good lesson to start reading terms and conditions in their entirety).

Now you might notice that many of the websites that you frequently spend time on send out annual emails that outline their “cookie” policy. However, on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, it’s much harder to tell how much of your information is being shared because they all include little breadcrumbs of personal data that are used to build our individual profiles. However, a combination of all those breadcrumbs are being tested for use on the “Clearview app.”

Here’s where the Clearview app comes in: The AI works by letting anyone snap of photo of your face and access all the private information you would typically put on the backend of your social profiles. Clearview has ensured the public that this new piece of technology is mainly for “search, not surveillance,” in order to “stop criminals,” according to Clearview’s official website. You can let out a slight sigh of relief because right now it’s only available to law enforcement officials. While Clearview AI clearly states on their website that this new tech cannot access private information, including on your social media profiles, Twitter sent the tech company a letter urging them to stop compiling photos pulled from their website.

With similar opposition, the state of New Jersey has instructed their law enforcement not to use the application as well. Various Twitter users have expressed their distaste for the app’s disregard for personal safety. 

For now, this app is not on the market for download and remains as an unsettling concept to the public. Clearview AI has not made a statement regarding if this app will be released people outside of law enforcement.