Air Force uses Clearview AI to search for Face ID AR glasses

The US Air Force is looking to secure its airfields with the help of facial recognition startup Clearview AI. the Air Force Research La...


The US Air Force is looking to secure its airfields with the help of facial recognition startup Clearview AI.

the Air Force Research Laboratory awarded Clearview $49,847 for research into augmented reality goggles that can scan people’s faces to help with security on bases.

Bryan Ripple, a spokesman for the lab, described the work as a three-month study to determine “the scientific and technical merit and feasibility” of using such glasses for facial recognition.

“No glasses or units are being delivered under this contract,” Ripple said Thursday.

In other words, the laboratory pays for the glasses to be developed, but it does not buy them yet. Mr. Ripple provided “a one-page overview of the company,” titled “Clearview AI: Augmented Reality Goggles to Secure Bases and Flight Lines.” The flyer said the product “saves lives”, “saves time” and “improves health” by increasing social distancing and keeping officers’ hands free to grab their weapons.

New York-based Clearview AI has been the target of international investigations and lawsuits because it scraped billions of photos from the public internet to build a facial recognition tool used by law enforcement. Hundreds of federal agencies and local police departments have used Clearview’s technology.

The company describes its software as ideal for investigations that take place after a crime has been committed and not for surveillance, but it has experimented with real-time facial recognition.

In January 2020, a Times technologist found code in the company’s app that showed it could be paired with augmented reality glasses. At the time, Hoan Ton-That, the chief executive of Clearview AI, acknowledged designing a prototype, but said the company had no plans to release it.

“We continually research and develop new technologies, processes and platforms to meet current and future security challenges, and look forward to all opportunities that bring us closer to the Air Force in this area,” said Mr. Ton-That in a statement after the contract became public. “Once realized, we believe this technology will be a great fit for many security situations.”

Last month, Mr. Ton-That said in a public letter that his company wouldn’t use its “real-time” technology, but equipping glasses with the technology to recognize faces seems to fit that bill.

In a phone call, Mr Ton-That said Clearview’s 10 billion photo database “will not be used for any real-time monitoring” and that all augmented reality glasses would instead rely on “limited datasets – for example, outstanding warrants, missing children or persons of interest.

The Air Force contract was signed in November, but was not made public until Thursday. It was first highlighted on Twitter by Jack Poulson, executive director of Tech Inquiry, a nonprofit organization that monitors government purchases of surveillance technology.

The Air Force previously awarded Clearview AI $50,000 in December 2019 for research and development. BuzzFeed News previously reported that the Air Force was one of several divisions within federal agencies that had conducted trials with the company’s facial recognition software.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Air Force uses Clearview AI to search for Face ID AR glasses
Air Force uses Clearview AI to search for Face ID AR glasses
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