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Clearview AI and the Role of Technology

The New York Times and other outlets have reported that Clearview AI, an artificial intelligence company, was outlawed in Canada for infringing on Canadian privacy laws. Clearview, a US technology company, is able to scan a face of a person and find every picture of that person on the internet, and provide links to the source, which is often a social media account of that person or that person’s friends or family. According to Clearview’s website, over 2,400 American law enforcement agencies use their services, and while some applaud the use of technology to assist in finding criminals, others are more wary. AI has been proven to have significant biases, which adds on to an already biased criminal justice system. This is all happening amidst a larger debate in the United States around the role of technology in society, as well as larger security and privacy debates, especially taking place around data and the internet. The larger debate is about how government, business, and society as a whole interact, and how stakeholders impact the conversation on privacy. To me, there has to be a better balance of privacy and security: people have the right to post on social media without worrying over whether an AI company will use their image against them on behalf of their powerful and wealthy clients. On the other hand, law enforcement should be using the internet and other technologies to find criminals, while also recognizing the biases that technology can cause.


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