Data breach exposes Facial Recognition Firm Clearview AI’s Client List.

Clearview AI, a start-up that compiles billions of photos for facial recognition technology, said it lost its entire client list to hackers. The start-up was earlier this year revealed as being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the United States, has suffered a data breach.

In a statement, Clearview AI's attorney Tor Ekeland said that while security is the company's top priority, "unfortunately, data breaches are a part of life. Our servers were never accessed." He added that the company continues to strengthen its security procedures and that the flaw has been patched.

As detailed in The New York Times report, the company has a database of 3 billion photos that it collected from the internet, including websites like YouTube, Facebook, Venmo and LinkedIn.

As per the report by CNET, tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have sent Clearview AI cease-and-desist letters for scraping images hosted on their platforms.

Following concerns earlier this year that the Clearview application had allowed a stranger to take a photograph of an individual and then have that matched in its database to a name, address, and other personal information, the company said its search engine could only be accessed by law enforcement agencies and select security professionals as an investigative tool.

"Accordingly, the Clearview app has built-in safeguards to ensure these trained professionals only use it for its intended purpose: To help identify the perpetrators and victims of crimes." "Nonetheless, we recognise that powerful tools always have the potential to be abused, regardless of who is using them, and we take the threat very seriously," the company wrote.

This followed Clearview saying its app was not available to the public, and that "it is gratifying to know that Clearview has been able to help law enforcement officials make communities safer and, most importantly, protect children".