Clearview AI is one step closer to getting a US patent for its facial recognition software

A patent filed by Clearview AI for part of its facial recognition technology is set to be granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The US-based facial recognition platform Clearview AI, has been sent a “notice of allowance” for a patent. The notice, given by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), will grant Clearview its patent to cover “methods of providing information about a person based on facial recognition”.

Clearview AI builds a facial recognition database using images of people scratched across social media. This is a method that has caused controversy with the company. The company’s patent application describes the use of a “web crawler” to acquire images, even noting that “online photos associated with personal accounts may help create additional records for facial recognition data points.” which its machine learning algorithm can then use to find and identify matches.

Matt Mahmoudi of Amnesty International, who is trying to block the technology, has said of the Clearview patent that “they are patenting the very part of it that’s in violation of international human rights law.”

Clearview AI is facing lawsuits in several countries, as well as pushback in countries such as Australia, where the company was instructed to delete all the facial recognition data it collected. Last year, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube sent a random letter urging the company stop scraping images and videos from the platforms, as the practice is in violation of each site’s policies.

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