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May 26, 2020

Chairwoman Johnson and Chairman Foster Seek Further Information on Clearview AI Data Breach and Operations

(Washington, DC) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairman Bill Foster (D-IL) sent a follow up letter to the CEO of Clearview AI, Mr. Hoan Ton-That, pursuing further information on Clearview’s approach to data privacy and cybersecurity matters.  

Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas sent an initial letter to Clearview AI in early March expressing their concern regarding the February 2020 hack of Clearview AI’s systems. The Chairwoman and Ranking Member received a response on March 17 to that letter on behalf of Clearview AI from the company’s counsel, Mr. Tor Ekeland.

“Our concerns are compounded in light of recent reporting that the February 2020 hack of Clearview’s systems exposed essentially all of Clearview’s source code for its proprietary web scrapping tool to the public,” said Chairwoman Johnson and Chairman Foster in the letter. “Despite Mr. Ekeland’s claims that the February 2020 hack did not expose any personally identifying information or communications internal to the company, the exposure of source code would make it possible for anybody who tapped Clearview’s repository to run their own searches and aggregate the biometric data of social media users.  

“At the very least, the possibility that Clearview’s source code has been exposed to outside actors renders meaningless the assurances Clearview gave the Committee about its efforts to limit access to its platform to ‘organizations with a legitimate need.’

A copy of the full letter can be found here.

A copy of the March 3rd letter to Clearview AI can be found here.

Clearview AI’s response to the March 3rd letter can be found here.