Clearview AI raises $ 30 million from investors despite legal troubles.

The round includes $ 8.6 million that had previously been disclosed in a filing with the SEC and reported by Buzzfeed. The company, founded in 2017, has now raised more than $ 38 million with a valuation of $ 130 million.

It’s not the only facial recognition startup to grab investors’ attention. AnyVision, an Israel-based competitor, raised $ 235 million this month in a funding round led by Softbank.

Clearview AI, which claims a database of three billion photos of people collected from sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Venmo, charges subscription fees to law enforcement organizations to use its product. A search for someone’s face will bring up other photos of the same person with links to where they appear on the web, allowing them to be identified. More than 1,800 law enforcement agencies have used Clearview’s product, according to a leaked list of users obtained by Buzzfeed. A recent report from the US Government Accountability Office found that Clearview AI has been used by 10 federal agencies, including the Secret Service and the FBI.

The company’s product has been deemed illegal in Canada, and it is being jointly investigated by Britain and Australia for its use of citizens’ personal information. Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company in the US, including one in Illinois accusing it of violating that state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, which stipulates that companies must obtain people’s permission to use fingerprints or for inclusion in facial recognition databases.

“We have had good news in the legal battles,” Ton-That said, referring to the recent decision by a federal judge to reject a request that the company be barred from doing business pending the outcome of the case in Illinois. “Airbnb, Uber and PayPal had a significant legal component to their operations. People forget about that once the company is much bigger. Investors can see that it is only part of the business. “

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