Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI told its customers that its complete list of clients, which includes law enforcement agencies all over the country, was stolen in a data breach, The Daily Beast reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: An intruder gaining access to Clearview's client list will likely trigger alarm bells for both would-be customers and privacy advocates, who have already denounced the company following a New York Times report on Clearview culling more than 3 billion images from websites like Facebook to create its database.

Details: The Daily Beast obtained a notice Clearview sent to customers reporting that an intruder gained access to its list of customers, the number of user accounts and the number of searches the customers conducted, according to the report.

  • Clearview told The Daily Beast the vulnerability has been fixed, and that law enforcement search histories were not revealed, nor were the company's servers compromised.
  • "This is a company whose entire business model relies on collecting incredibly sensitive and personal information, and this breach is yet another sign that the potential benefits of Clearview’s technology do not outweigh the grave privacy risks it poses," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said in a statement in response to the news report.

Go deeper: Clearview brings privacy concerns from facial recognition into focus

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