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Opinion
Parmy Olson

Bringing Facial Recognition to War Is a Bad Idea

A startup’s donation of controversial tech to Ukraine could also help distract from its wider problems.

People fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

People fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.

Photographer: GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP

Perhaps the saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” holds true for controversial technology companies.

New York-based Clearview AI has been criticized by privacy advocates for years because of the way it has scraped billions of images from social-media networks to build a search engine for faces used by police departments. It was the subject of a New York Times investigation, and several countries including France and Canada have banned the company.