This statement is mine and mine alone and concerns the New York Times article that appeared earlier today about my involvement with Clearview.
I cofounded Clearview because I believe facial recognition is an essential tool in protecting the security and continued prosperity of Americans.
Facial recognition is less error prone and subject to significantly less racial bias than police snap judgments or a suspect lineup. Clearview is currently used by thousands of law enforcement officers around the world to catch criminals and has helped send child abusers, rapists, murderers, and rioters to jail. Increasingly, it’s used to help confused elderly people return to their worried families and to help identify the mentally ill and provide them the help they need. Clearview’s applications continue to expand, which is why I also support this tool being accessible to responsible members of public once they’ve completed training. We are safer when the parents of America can keep a watchful eye on their families’ safety, rather than relying on the government to have a monopoly on such a powerful technology.
Important to note, these use cases apply to Clearview and the United States. For different companies in different countries, most notably in places like Russia and China, the uses for facial recognition are very different – and they are intolerable and fascist. We all recoil at the CCP’s use of facial recognition to repress and enslave Uyghurs in XUAR. I realized many years ago that the U.S. and China have entered a “face race” to become the leader in facial recognition technology and thereby determine its primary use cases. As a result, I believe Clearview is the application of American excellence to solving global problems. This is what I am all about.
I am not the caricature that you find on the Internet. I believe in the beauty and dignity and worth of every human being. While I used to view provocation as a form of defiance, I am a different person in my thirties than I was in my twenties. Who isn’t? Liars can say or print or tweet whatever they want but it doesn’t the change the truth: I have always loved this country and stood up for the weak.
As a survivor of crime and abuse myself, I am trying every day to be a kinder and more empathetic person. What I’ve learned through working on Clearview has only heightened my appreciation for the helplessness that many feel when they are victims of crime, and I am proud to be part of a mission to help protect them through technology.
My work with Clearview has been animated by love of country and the hope for a world in which my daughter and all children can grow up safe from violent crime. Facial recognition will continue to evolve over time and expand its applications in our everyday life, and I’m grateful for the support of so many people who helped take Clearview from napkin to name brand in such a short while.
Beyond Clearview, there’s much more work in other areas to bring the next generation of American exceptionalism and that is where I will be focusing attention in my next chapter. The technical questions around Clearview has been solved and so it’s time for another challenge. You know it will be good.
But rest assured, I will never stop serving this country and her people. Like my family before me I know the costs and I know what it takes. And I am prepared to pay it just as they were. Whether it be making refugees American, or serving in the Peace Corps, or teaching her children, or building the next generation in technology, or journeying into the unknown we have made our mark on this country and shaped its future.
Fittingly the exposure of my involvement in Clearview — a company I did not want to ever get public — came out on the anniversary of a week that means a lot to my family. Tomorrow is the anniversary of my grandfather winning the Navy Cross.
This is how his commendation read:
When the aircraft carrier U.S.S. FRANKLIN (CV-13) was set ablaze by enemy action, Lieutenant Commander Johnson maneuvered his destroyer alongside the carrier and, despite intense smoke and grave danger from explosions, rescued the Commander of his task group and several key personnel trapped on the Flag Bridge, transporting them to another carrier. Returning to the stricken vessel, he repeatedly placed his ship alongside her to rescue trapped personnel and to fight fires. His gallant conduct and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
You can read about the engagement here and even watch footage of the actual attack in the 1949 film Task Force starring Gary Cooper.
I have talked to men who were there and who told me how the sky was blackened by smoke. Enemy planes filled the sky and killed hundreds but how grandfather never broke his composure. He was only thirty — the same age I was when I started Clearview and also a father. The battlefield changes from the seas to cyberspace but the will remains. Not all of us can wear the uniform but all of us can serve this wonderful country. When my war hero grandfather was struck down with a rare genetic disorder and confined to a wheel chair he still fought for the children of this country while in excruciating pain. And so it with me. I can take the pain too. I have only just begun. All of us end up in the grave but some of us live forever in what we do for others.
To the Clearview team and especially my cofounders Hoan and Richard, thank you so much for everything you do.