A photo storage application that offers users "unlimited, free, private backups of all the memories of their lives" has been secretly using the client's private snapshots to train and sell facial recognition software.
As detailed in a report from NBC News the startup was launched as a simple cloud storage business in 2013, but it became a supplier of facial recognition technology in 2017 after being account that a photo application "I will not be a large-scale business."
However, customers were not informed of this change, or how their photos and videos are being used.
"They are commercially exploiting the image of the people in the photos to train a product sold to the military and law enforcement," said New York University law professor Jason Schultz, NBC News . "The idea that users have given real consent of any kind is ridiculous."
Ever in itself has not sold its software to the army or the police (its clients include SoftBank Robotics, maker of the Pepper robot) and points out that it never shows users' personal data.
But his pivot shows how facial recognition systems are often trained by photos taken from an unsuspecting public. Academics and private companies use huge databases of millions of photos, such as MegaFace and Faces in the Wild, to train AI facial recognition. They often contain photos of public websites, such as Flickr.
On Ever's website for its facial recognition systems, the company boasts of having one of the "largest and most diverse patented data sets in the world", with more than 13 billion images and videos. He says that his software is used for "surveillance and monitoring, physical access control and digital authentication", and can do more than just recognize people and also categorize their emotions, ethnicity and age, according to their image.
When asked by NBC News if the company had done enough to inform users about the use of their data, Doug Aley, CEO of Ever, said he thought that.