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EXCLUSIVE: With a single photo, hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the U.S. can learn your name, where you live, and who you know. It will end your ability to walk down the street anonymously.
It’s because of an app called Clearview. With a database of more than 3 billion images scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and other sources, it goes far beyond anything built by the U.S. government or Silicon Valley’s giants.
Clearview was founded by Hoan Ton-That, an Australian techie and onetime model, and Richard Schwartz, a former aide to Rudy Giuliani when Giuliani was mayor of New York. It is backed by Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook and Palantir.
The company is shrouded in secrecy. The app is currently available only to law enforcement and corporate investigators, but if it — or something like it — became public, searching someone by face could become as easy as Googling a name.
.@kashhill got to see first hand how it works. When police officers ran a photo of her through the app, they soon received calls from Clearview asking if they were talking to the media. Read her investigation: nyti.ms/36bAfTH
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