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Markey Presses Clearview AI on Facial Recognition

In a letter dated Monday (June 8) Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is pressing Clearview AI to commit to not violating Americans' civil liberties, a response to reports that cities where people are protesting against systemic racism and the death of George Floyd "have access" to Clearview's facial recognition technology. 

Markey has been an outspoken voice for transparency and consumer protections when it comes to the use of facial recognition. 

"As demonstrators across the country exercise their First Amendment rights by protesting racial injustice, it is important that law enforcement does not use technological tools to stifle free speech or endanger the public," he said. 

He has previously pushed the company to commit to third-party assessment of the accuracy of the technology and whether there is any bias, and has done so again in the face of the protests, saying he wants to make sure law enforcement is not misusing the technology. He also wants some answers on how it is vetting law enforcement clients and how the public can remove images from the database. 

"The prospect of such omnipresent surveillance also runs the risk of deterring Americans from speaking out against injustice for fear of being permanently included in law enforcement databases," he said. 

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.