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'Chilling': Facial recognition firm Clearview AI hits watchdog groups with subpoenas

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Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition company that scrapes public images from social media to aid law enforcement probes, has subpoenaed internal documents from some of the groups that first exposed its activities.

The firm served subpoenas in August to civil society coalition Open The Government, its policy analyst Freddy Martinez and the police accountability nonprofit that he’d previously founded, Lucy Parsons Labs — demanding any correspondence they’d had with journalists about Clearview and its leaders, as well as information they’d uncovered about the company and its founders in public records requests, over the last four years.

The subpoenas, obtained by POLITICO, could draw the groups into lengthy court battles and, they argue, dissuade others from taking on Clearview or other companies working on potentially problematic technologies.

David Brody, counsel and senior fellow for privacy and technology at the nonprofit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the move could be seen as an attempt to deter the advocacy groups, and journalists, from future investigations.

“To use legal process to try to silence critics — silence people that are just trying to get transparency about how our criminal justice system is operating and what tools are being used by law enforcement........

© Politico

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