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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Venmo and LinkedIn have sent Clearview AI cease-and-desist letters in the wake of a blockbuster report that the facial recognition startup has scraped billions of people's faces from their websites, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Clearview's app is used to identify suspected criminals by over 600 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, per the Times.

What they're saying: Twitter has demanded that Clearview delete all data collected from its site, per AP, while YouTube said its terms "explicitly forbid collecting data that can be used to identify a person."

More fallout:

  • New Jersey's attorney general banned police officers from using Clearview in January.
  • Class-action lawsuits in Illinois and Virginia have been filed against the company, the Times reports.
  • Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, has demanded documentation from Clearview on its data collection practices and called on committee Chair Maxine Waters to schedule a hearing on the issue.
  • Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has also asked Clearview for documentation of its customers, whether the company has detected any security breaches since it launched, and whether its facial recognition tech is currently integrated into body cameras.

The other side: Law enforcement across Canada and the U.S. told the Times that Clearview allows them to identify children subjected to sexual abuse. Officials say the app has also helped them solve murder cases as well as crimes involving identity theft, credit card fraud and shoplifting.

What to watch: Blowback against Clearview could quickly amplify support for a new flurry of state bills aimed at regulating, banning or studying facial recognition — which is not federally regulated, despite bipartisan support for its restraint.

Go deeper: Activists fight to keep face recognition off college campuses

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.