Coinbase Admits To Testing Clearview’s Controversial Facial Recognition Software


The California-based crypto exchange giant, Coinbase, has admitted to using the controversial facial recognition software developed by Clearview.

According to BuzzFeed, which obtained an internal document from the New York-based AI company – Clearview – shows that the company has, so far, partnered with over 2,000 firms and authorities globally through the sale of its still controversial technology or through mutual sharing.

The company is currently facing a number of legal threats from organizations like Google and Apple.

Clearview's facial recognition software, alongside its current operations, have faced intense scrutiny after the New York Times published a story indicating that the startup’s database contained over three billion images scraped from various websites and social media networks without the awareness or consent from users or publishers.

Hoan Ton-That, Clearview’s CEO, had indicated that the technology had only been used by law enforcement agencies, with the firm only working with organizations in the United States and Canada.

However, an anonymous source has since exposed the whole list of Clearview's clients from over 26 nations.

The list includes renowned businesses like Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’s as well as banks, universities, government agencies, high schools and various police departments.

However, it is the inclusion of Coinbase that is surprising to the majority of crypto enthusiasts since the industry is driven by the need to have privacy.

A spokesperson for Coinbase has explained to BuzzFeed that the exchange was a test of the technology for security purposes as well as compliance. She explained, that Coinbase's use of Clearview's AI as a potential security framework.

“We used Clearview to see if the service could meaningfully bolster our efforts to protect employees and offices against physical threats and investigate fraud.”

The spokesperson went on to say that the exchange has yet to make any commitments on the use of this technology.

Coinbase is no stranger to user privacy issues, having previously been forced to clarify that it didn't sell clients’ data after a top executive admitted that a former analyst had sold clients’ data to third parties.

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