Floyd Abrams, one of the most prominent First Amendment lawyers in the country, has a new client: the facial recognition company Clearview AI.
Litigation against the start-up “has the potential of leading to a major decision about the interrelationship between privacy claims and First Amendment defenses in the 21st century,” Mr. Abrams said in a phone interview. He said the underlying legal questions could one day reach the Supreme Court.
Clearview AI has scraped billions of photos from the internet, including from platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram, and sells access to the resulting database to law enforcement agencies. When an officer uploads a photo or a video image containing a person’s face, the app tries to match the likeness and provides other photos of that person that can be found online.
After The New York Times revealed the existence of Clearview AI in January, lawsuits were filed against the company in Illinois, California, Virginia and New York, alleging…