Clearview AI CEO says company focused on winning federal agency contracts this year

Hoan Ton-That tells Reuters the company wants to deepen its relationship with customers that are trialing the technology.
(Getty Images)

Clearview AI is focused on expanding its contracts with federal government agencies throughout 2022, according to the facial recognition technology company’s CEO.

Hoan Ton-That told Reuters in an interview published Monday that his company will redouble its efforts to deepen existing relationships and convert trial users of its powerful biometric technology to permanent users.

“We know that some of these agencies are seeing great success, but they are only at a small five-figure purchase or a six-figure purchase,” the CEO told the news agency. He added: “And so it’s, ‘can we get a few of those to the seven-figure, maybe eight-figure purchases?'”

Clearview is one of the U.S.’s largest facial recognition technology companies, and according to the Federal Procurement Data System has at least 10 current contracts with federal government departments. These range in size from a blanket purchase agreement with the Army for $0 to a $500,000 purchase order with the Dallas-based investigations and operations support office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Ton-That’s comments come as the use of facial recognition technology by federal agencies attracts increasing debate. Earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service said it would move away from using facial recognition technology provided by contractor

Clearview has faced multiple legal challenges over the use of its powerful technology, and earlier this month asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to postpone the legal effect of its recent decision to allow a class action brought against the company under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

The company’s technology matches facial images from a growing database of 10 billion photos that are scraped from the internet, including from websites such as Flickr, Instagram and Getty Images.

In the interview, Ton-That also for the first time revealed the identity of one of the company’s technical staff, saying that the computational physicist Terence Liu was behind some of Clearview’s algorithms.

According to the CEO, Clearview intends to hire 18 more staff this year, including five engineers to add to an existing team of 12. Clearview also plans during 2022 to add enhancement tools to clean up search photos and potentially AI that could allow seniors to be matched with childhood photos.

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