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Clearview AI CEO disavows white nationalism after exposé on alt-right ties

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Two workers of controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI have been discovered to have ties to white nationalism, based on an exhaustive report by HuffPost printed on Tuesday.

The report discovered that one investigator for the corporate belonged to a white nationalist group based mostly in Washington, DC who continued to work for the corporate as not too long ago as final month. One other worker had enthusiastically endorsed “Islamophobia, Eurocentrism and anti-Semitism” in on-line writings in 2015.

Reached by The Verge, Clearview CEO Hoan Ton-That mentioned he was unaware of the web writings and that neither worker stays with the corporate.

I’m not a white supremacist or an anti-semite, nor am I sympathetic to any of these views,” Ton-That mentioned in an announcement. “They’re abhorrent and I reject them wholly and with out reservation.”

Clearview AI rose to prominence earlier this 12 months, quietly providing facial recognition companies to regulation enforcement and company purchasers that may determine an individual from {a photograph}. A lot of the corporate’s database was scraped from Fb, Twitter, and different social networks in obvious violation of the platforms’ privateness protections and phrases of service. Vermont Lawyer Normal TJ Donovan is at present suing the corporate on these grounds, calling the service “unscrupulous, unethical, and opposite to public coverage.”

On the identical time, Clearview seems to have broad adoption inside regulation enforcement. A client list obtained by BuzzFeed News lists greater than 2,000 purchasers, together with the FBI, Division of Justice, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Company purchasers embody main manufacturers like Greatest Purchase and Macy’s.

The HuffPost report additionally particulars an internet of extra ambiguous connections between Ton-That and alt-right figures like Chuck Johnson, Pax Dickinson, and Richard Spencer. Ton-That was lively on Johnson’s WeSearchr platform and seems to have socialized extensively with Johnson. (One photograph, shared by Mike Cernovich, reveals the pair giving the “okay” signal collectively at a restaurant.) Johnson additionally promoted Clearview extensively inside his circle, even giving a personal demo to a passenger on a aircraft. His broader involvement within the firm is unclear, and Johnson has made varied contradictory statements concerning it.

In his assertion, Ton-That described these associations because the product of a life spent on the web. “I discovered in regards to the world, its inhabitants and concepts on-line,” Ton-That mentioned. “It had not at all times been a straight path, and it had not at all times served me nicely. There was a interval once I explored a variety of concepts—not out of perception in any of them, however out of a need to seek for self and place on this planet. I’ve lastly discovered it, and the mission to assist make America a safer place.”

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