Ever Wished To Know The Name Of a Stranger On Street? This App Reportedly Now Lets You Do So!

Let’s be honest, how many times has it happened to you that you just see someone walking across the street with you, in a mall or at a party and you suddenly wish to know them better? However, you get to miss the chance of interacting with them because the other person goes away in a flash. Sounds like a heartbreaking story, right?

So, how about an app that gives you a chance to know the name of the similar person right away?

A start-up with the name Clearview AI is making it possible with their own developed app and surprisingly enough, it is also being currently used by a number of law enforcement agencies in the US, including the FBI, as per the claims of The New York Times.

The app provides results with a relatively simple working; you can snap a picture of the person you want to know about and then their face gets compared to a database of 3 billion pictures that according to Clearview AI has been taken from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and other networks. Once the match is found within the app, users then get the link of platforms where the database photos first appeared. This eventually makes knowing the name and digging up other information about the person much easier.

One important fact to notice here is that the size of Clearview AI’s database is much bigger than that of FBI as well, which despite tapping passport and driver's license photos falls below at 641 million photos of US citizens.

The app’s potential together has helped intelligence agencies solve major crimes like from child sexual exploitation to murder and small ones like shoplifting as well. But the privacy advocates have also highlighted the issue of how the app can report false matches to the police or can be of great advantage for the stalkers. Going beyond that, they have also warned the people charged in governance of the app that facial recognition technology can lead to conducting mass surveillance as well.

Regulation of facial recognition technology is also under consideration in the US. Cities like San Francisco have banned its use as of now but there haven’t been any federal laws passed regarding it.


In the on-going court battle, two senators back in 2019 introduced a bipartisan bill recommending to limit the use of such technology by the FBI and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In fact, one of the senators, Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah was bold enough to claim that facial recognition technology can be a powerful tool for law enforcement agencies, which will also make it ripe for abuse.

Moreover on last Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee held third hearing on facial recognition and in that a Democrat from Virginia, Rep. Gerry Connolly stepped up with a clear approach that lawmakers will have to struggle to ensure that parameters of protecting the privacy are being met and there is also a control on how this technology should be used.

As lawmakers are focused on addressing the right use of facial recognition in public by private companies and government agencies both, the future of Clearview AI’s app is still in doubts.

There hasn’t been any comment on the proceedings by FBI or Clearview AI till now.



Read next: You are being tracked 24/7 by many applications and there’s nothing you can do about it

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