The beginning of Clearview cyber attack in 2016

TechNews Writer
Mon Feb 22, 2021

Hoan Ton – That, dropped out of college in 2007 and moved to San Francisco right when iPhone was just launched in the market, his goal was to enter early in the application development market, but his early ventures did not gain much of popularity.

In the year of 2009, Hoan Ton – That created a website that would let users share the links of videos with anyone on their contact list. This website was later taken down after it got branded as a “Phishing Scam”. He created multiple applications before inventing Clearview AI’s facial recognition software but none of them gained much popularity and failed. He also tried modelling career but gave up on it after a single photoshoot. In 2016, he moved to New York and started his research in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and Image recognition algorithms. He gained a lot of interest in Image recognition algorithms and tools. Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Ton-That met in 2016 at a book event at the Manhattan Institute. Mr. Schwartz, now 61, had Huge network in New York, Mr. Schwartz had worked as the editor for The New York Daily News in the early 2000s, both decided to become partners and step foot in facial recognition business together.

Mr. Thon- That was the Brain behind the App and Mr.  Schwartz was the backbone for marketing and expanding the business using his contacts. They formed a great team of technical and business power.  Buzzfeed determined that Clearview also operated a secondary business, Insight Camera. These were AI- enabled security cameras. It is targeted at “Banking, Retail and residential buildings". United Federation of the teachers and Rudin Management have used this Technology. Now, let’s take a deep dive into how this happened five years back.  Clearview AI is a facial recognition app which has a database consisting of more than 3 billion images scraped from major web services and social media platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Venmo and publicly available images on internet. This app can be installed in smartphones and can instantly identify unknown people, provide the output with related images and the link from where the image was scrapped.




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