06-02-2020 5:18 am Published by Nederland.ai Leave your thoughts

YouTube has sent a clear cease and desist letter to Clearview AI demanding that the controversial face recognition startup stop scraping YouTube videos to collect faces for its database and remove all images it has already collected. The claim, first reported by CBS News, says that YouTube prohibits anyone from collecting data from its platform that can be used to identify people and that Clearview has admitted to violate this policy.

“YouTube's Terms of Service explicitly prohibits the collection of information that can be used to identify a person,” said a YouTube spokesperson in a statement sent to The Verge. “Clearview has publicly admitted to doing exactly that, and in response we have sent them a letter to stop.”

Clearview AI came in public interest last month after The New York Times revealed what the company was building: an app that can find images of someone's face over the web. Clearview's product is being marketed to law enforcement, and the police apparently used it by uploading a picture of a suspect's face, finding where they would otherwise have appeared online, and then using that information to identify their name localize.

The service was built by collecting images from across the web, taking them from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, news sites, and more, according to the report. YouTube was probably one of the services scraped for images.

Clearview may be in a legally precarious position because it is likely that it has no explicit permission to use many, if not the vast majority, of the photos that its service relies on. However, it is not clear how enforceable YouTube's terms of service are in this case. Twitter sent a cease-fire to Clearview last month and also demanded that it delete existing photos it had saved. De Berm turned to Clearview for comments.

In addition to collecting photos, Clearview reportedly uses them to train AI in identifying people. There are still open questions about the extent to which photos and videos can be used to train AI without permission, but it is still something that is being done. YouTube has even supported AI research in this way – albeit for much less novice purposes. Last year, Google showed how the company had used YouTube videos from the Mannequin Challenge (where people pretended to be frozen) to train a tool to predict depth in videos.

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