Clearview AI gives Ukraine free facial recognition tech

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — A company the U.S. has recognized as having the second-most accurate facial recognition technology on the planet is lending its services to Ukraine’s war effort.

The system could be used to identify Russian spies or even friendly Ukrainians who lost their IDs.

Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI, told NewsNation’s Dan Abrams that it’s been heartbreaking to watch the war in Ukraine. He got in touch with the Ukrainian government through a mutual associate and set them up with free accounts and training.

“When I saw some of the video footage too of these captured Russian soldiers, who clearly … didn’t want to be there, I realized perhaps facial recognition could be of use,” Ton-That said Monday on “Dan Abrams Live.”

He said several sample photos Ukraine gave him matched with photos found on VKontakte, a Russian social media site. He said modern software can pick a face out of a lineup of 12 million with 99.85% accuracy.

While the technology may help Ukraine, there are vocal critics of any type of facial recognition software. They argue results may either be incorrect or taken out of context. Ton-That assured Abrams that his team is looking for those.

“You have an algorithm, and then you always have human review,” he said. “You still have to have a human judgment to to make a positive identification.”

Despite the theoretical use lined out so far, he’s not certain exactly how the Ukrainians will deploy the technology. He is not offering it to the Russians, but there are concerns they could either try to force their way into the system or retaliate against his company with a cyberattack.

“It’s something we’re we preparing for and something we take seriously,” Ton-That said.

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