Facial Recognition Firm Clearview AI Raises $8.6 Million

Facial recognition startup Clearview AI has raised over $8.6 million in its most recent fundraising round.

What We Know:

  • According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Clearview AI raised $8.625 million from investors. The document outlined that the minimum accepted from outside investors was $50,000.
  • Thursday’s filing disclosed the identities of two board members: Murtaza Akbar and Hal Lambert. Akbar is a managing partner of Liberty City Ventures, which manages investments in financial technologies and digital currencies. Lambert is the founder of Point Bridge Capital, which created the MAGA ETF: an exchange-traded fund that allows people to invest in companies that are “highly supportive of Republican candidates”. Lambert has worked closely with the Republican Party in Texas and has been outspoken against the Black Lives Matter movement. Clearview AI is used by law enforcement to identify Black Lives Matter protesters.
  • Clearview AI has raised questions because of its dubious practice of scraping data from Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks. The firm has already amassed a database of over 3 billion images of people. Clearview has been at the center of legal challenges for allegedly violating various states’ biometric information and data privacy laws. The company has also been scrutinized for its undisclosed partnerships with local law enforcement, the FBI, and ICE.
  • Clearview essentially operates its business by collecting and selling images of people unknowingly. The firm recently signed a $224,000 contract with ICE. Several states have stepped in to protect the rights and privacy of their citizens. Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan called Clearview’s practices “disturbing” and said they “offend public policy”.

CEO Hoan Ton-That has dismissed critics of Clearview AI and said that he is “gratified by the ongoing support from our wide range of diverse investors who are committed to Clearview AI and its mission to help law enforcement solve crimes”.