IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Ukraine given access to Clearview AI's controversial facial recognition tech

The tech will be used to recognise Russian soldiers, tackle misinformation, and identify the deceased

Clearview AI is providing Ukraine’s defence ministry with free access to its facial recognition technology, the company has confirmed.

The facial recognition software is being used to identify Russian soldiers, tackle misinformation, reunite displaced families, and identify the deceased - as other forms of identification, including fingerprint scanning, become increasingly challenging due to heavy bombardment.

Initially reported by Reuters, the New York-based company has since confirmed to IT Pro that "Clearview AI has provided it's groundbreaking facial recognition technology to Ukrainian officials for their use during the crisis they are facing".

It comes after CEO and co-founder Hoan Ton-That sent a letter to the Ukrainian government offering support following the Russian invasion on 24 February.

In the document, seen by IT Pro, Ton-That claims that Clearview AI has access to over 2 billion images obtained through the Russian social media service VKontakte that can be used to identify Russian soldiers. VKontakte is the most popular social network in Russia, with an estimated 400 million registered users.

Clearview AI, which was founded in 2017, has an overall image database of more than 10 billion photos. In 2021, it was found to have violated GDPR, as well as Australia’s privacy laws, and has been hit with cease and desist notices from the likes of Facebook and Twitter for scraping public images for its systems.

Related Resource

EMA: The state of AIOps

The benefits of driving adoption of AIOps

Whitepaper cover with image of a digital brain graphic held in the palm of a handFree Download

The startup was also found to have broken "several" data protection laws in the UK, with the ICO issuing Clearview AI with a provisional fine of £17 million.

A number of tech giants had reached out to assist Ukraine’s military amidst the Russian invasion, offering support ranging from financial aid to cyber security defences. Businesses including Apple, Cisco, SAP, Microsoft, AMD, Intel, and TSMC also made the decision to pull their operations out of Russia, yet some were criticised for their slow response.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the subject of protests during Barcelona’s MWC, before it announced on 9 March that it would no longer accept new subscriptions from Russia and its ally Belarus.

Amazon also stated that it’s working with NGOs and employees to offer immediate humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian citizens, having donated $5 million to organisations providing critical aid on the ground, including UNICEF, UNHCR, World Food Program, Red Cross, Polska Akcja Humanitarna, and Save the Children.

Featured Resources

Activation playbook: Deliver data that powers impactful, game-changing campaigns

Bringing together data and technology to drive better business outcomes

Free Download

In unpredictable times, a data strategy is key

Data processes are crucial to guide decisions and drive business growth

Free Download

Achieving resiliency with Everything-as-a-Service (XAAS)

Transforming the enterprise IT landscape

Free Download

What is contextual analytics?

Creating more customer value in HR software applications

Free Download

Recommended

What is cyber warfare?
Security

What is cyber warfare?

20 May 2022
Mastering endpoint security implementation
Security

Mastering endpoint security implementation

18 May 2022
The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update
Whitepaper

The Total Economic Impact™ of Apple Mac in Enterprise: M1 update

12 May 2022
Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history
Server & storage

Dell Technologies World 2022: Dell unveils fastest storage architecture in company history

4 May 2022

Most Popular

Europe's first autonomous petrol station opens in Lisbon
automation

Europe's first autonomous petrol station opens in Lisbon

23 May 2022
Nvidia pauses hiring to help cope with inflation
Careers & training

Nvidia pauses hiring to help cope with inflation

23 May 2022
Open source packages with millions of installs hacked to harvest AWS credentials
hacking

Open source packages with millions of installs hacked to harvest AWS credentials

24 May 2022