This app will invade anyone’s privacy and the FBI loves it

Clearview AI, a small startup that was mostly unknown until a story from The New York Times called it the app to “end privacy as we know it,” lets strangers figure out your identity through the quick snap of a single photo.

Hundreds of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, are already using this facial recognition technology, despite bans on the tech in cities like San Francisco.

The app uses over three billion images to find a match. These photos were sourced from social media sites and even apps like Venmo…

These fears and disavowals of facial recognition tech come just months after two senators introduced a bipartisan bill to limit how the FBI and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency could use it.

“Facial recognition technology can be a powerful tool for law enforcement officials,” Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, said in a statement at the time. “But its very power also makes it ripe for abuse.”

Poisonally – and not too seriously – I have to think it might be useful for average Americans to experience what every insurgent activist has experienced for decades in the United States. Every decent-sized police department has a Red Squad that includes photo-recording every insurgent activist on their patch. At a minimum.

First time I recall being aware of some flavor of gumshoe snapping my photo was at a civil rights demonstration in New England prepping for the March on Washington the following year – in 1963. I don’t doubt that this went on earlier in my life as I woke up to folks rallying together against injustice. The swarm of tech and snoops has never diminished since. If you believe it has, I have a Bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

Are these the sleaziest coppers on Earth – stealing ID’s of dead children as cover for domestic spying?

The Metropolitan Police covertly stole the identities of about 80 dead children for use in operations by undercover police officers, according to a new investigation.

The practice, condemned as “gruesome” by Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, carried on for three decades as a means for police to infiltrate anti-racist, anti-capitalist and far-right protest groups. Officers obtained passports, driving licences and national insurance numbers under their new identities.

Two former members of the Met’s undercover Special Demonstration Squad told The Guardian they had adopted the identity of a dead child after scanning birth and death records to find a suitable match.

“You are looking for someone of a similar age to you who died, starting at age three or four and up to age 14 or 15,” said “Pete Black”, the adopted identity of a former undercover policeman who infiltrated environmental activist groups from 1993 to 1997. Victims of the identity theft included an eight-year-old boy who had died from leukaemia in 1968, and another who was killed in a car crash, said the report. Parents of the dead children were never made aware of the practice.

The Met said in a statement that…the practice was not “currently” authorised.

Give an ethically-challenged police body the opportunity and they will return to the worst of their practices. Many young people have a vague notion of what the FBI and their local lackeys did during the COINTELPRO days. The Red Squads are all behind us – we’re told.

Today, we witness discussions in Congress – with the White House occupied by a moderately conservative Democrat with a solid law degree from Harvard – on how the president can judge someone guilty and sentence him to death. No jury of his peers. The practice is only “currently” authorised.

We shouldn’t worry.