Air Force Taps Clearview AI to study facial recognition AR glasses

The US Air Force is looking to keep its airports safer with help from facial recognition startup Clearview AI.

The Air Force Research Laboratory awarded Clearview $49,847 to research augmented reality glasses that could scan people’s faces to help ensure security at bases.

Brian Ripple, a spokesman for the lab, describes the work as a three-month study aimed at finding the “scientific value and feasibility” of using such glasses to receive face form.

“No glasses or units will be delivered under this contract,” Mr. Ripple said on Thursday.

In other words, the lab is paying to develop these glasses, but they haven’t bought them yet. Ripple provided a “one-page overview from the company,” titled, “Clearview AI: Augmented Reality Glasses for Facility and Flight Security.” The brochure says the product “saves lives”, “saves time” and “improves health” by increasing social distancing and keeping officers hands free to retrieve their weapons.

New York-based Clearview AI has been the target of international investigations and lawsuits as it has collected 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 are already using Clearview’s technology.

The company describes its software as ideal for investigations that take place after a crime rather than surveillance, but it has experimented with real-time facial recognition.

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

“We are constantly researching and developing new technologies, processes and platforms to meet current and future security challenges, and look forward to any opportunity that may bring us with Air Force in that field,” Ton-That said in a statement after the contract was made public. “Once realized, we believe this technology will be well-suited for many security scenarios.”

Last month, Mr. Ton-That said in a public letter that his company won’t use its technology “in a real-time way,” but wearing glasses with facial recognition technology seems to fit that bill.

In a phone call, Mr. Ton-That said Clearview’s database of 10 billion photos “will not be used for any real-time surveillance” and that any augmented reality glasses will instead. that would be based on “limited data sets – for example, missing children or people of interest. “

The contract with the Air Force was signed in November, but was only made public on Thursday. It was first marked on Twitter by Jack Poulson, chief executive officer of Tech Inquiry, a nonprofit that oversees government procurement of surveillance technology.

The Air Force previously awarded Clearview AI $50,000 in December 2019 for research and development. News about BuzzFeed previously reported that the Air Force is one of many divisions within federal agencies that have carried out tests with the company’s facial recognition software.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/technology/air-force-clearview-ai-glasses.html Air Force Taps Clearview AI to study facial recognition AR glasses

Fry Electronics Team

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