Surprise! Clearview AI is cozy with the alt-right and lying about its product

NYPD refutes the creepy facial recognition startup's claims that it helped identify a terrorism suspect, and the company has a history of cozying up to some pretty bad people.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Clearview AI, with its database of billions of photos enabling facial recognition, is the latest development in technology we should absolutely be terrified by. The small startup touts its ability to help law enforcement with images culled from the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin.

It even pushed a narrative of how it helped New York City police identify a suspected terrorist. The NYPD, however, says it's not true.

Someone's not telling the truth — "The NYPD did not use Clearview technology to identify the suspect in the August 16th rice cooker incident," a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "The NYPD identified the suspect using the department's facial recognition practice where a still image from a surveillance video was compared to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos."

The spokesperson also said the NYPD has "no institutional relationship" with Clearview AI. CEO Hoan Thon-That responded by saying the department has been using a demo of Clearview tech for several months.

BuzzFeed News also found at least two cases in which Clearview claimed to help other police departments but merely submitted their findings to a tip line.

Dubious backers — Ton-That's co-founder is Richard Schawrtz, who used to be an aide to Rudy Giuliani. Peter Thiel is also an early investor, because of fucking course he was. Wonder where they got the idea to propagate fake news? Ton-That has also cozied up with alt-right figures Mike Cernovich and Chuck Johnson. BuzzFeed found a tweet from Cernovich with a photo of Ton-That and Johnson throwing up the "ok" symbol, which has become the alt-right's go-to gesture.