Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Saturday began using AI facial recognition technology from Peter Thiel-backed Clearview AI – which has been used for several years by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to collect photos on social media sites for inclusion into a massive facial recognition database. So make sure you put as many photos of yourself on FB and Insta!
The system is being provided free of charge, CEO Hoan Ton-That told Reuters, adding that they had not offered the technology to Russia.
While Ukraine’s MoD won’t say what they’re using it for, possible uses include vetting people of interest at checkpoints, identifying the dead more easily than trying to match fingerprints, reuniting refugees with their families, identifying Russian operatives, etc.
Ukraine has had trouble identifying freind/foe, there have been dozens of instances where the Ukrainian army has killed their own civilians whom they suspected of being “spies”.
Ton-That told Reuters that the company has over 2 billion images from the Russian social media service VKontakte in its database of more than 10 billion photos total.
The VKontakte images make Clearview’s dataset more comprehensive than that of PimEyes, a publicly available image search engine that people have used to identify individuals in war photos, Wolosky said. VKontakte did not immediately respond to a request for comment; U.S. social media company Facebook, now Meta Platforms Inc, had demanded Clearview stop taking its data. -Reuters
The software has raised privacy concerns in the United States, to the point where Sens. Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders attempted to block its use with a bill that would require Clearview and similar companies obtain consent before taking your biometric data.