The controversial facial recognition software maker Clearview AI has a new contract with ICE, the most controversial U.S. government agency. Clearview was already known to work with the branch of Homeland Security fiercely criticized for implementing the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies. The new contract makes it clear that relationship is ongoing — and that Clearview isn’t just playing a bit part in tech’s lucrative scrum for federal contracts.
First spotted by tech watchdog Tech Inquiry, the new contract is worth $224,000 and will provide the agency with what is only described as “Clearview licenses,” likely just access to the company’s software services. According to the award notice, the funding office for the contract is Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division within ICE that focuses on “cross-border criminal activity,” including drug and human trafficking. Four companies competed for the contract.
Clearview is no stranger to controversy. Its somewhat
In the four years since Help Lightning first began pitching its services out of its Birmingham, Ala. headquarters, the company has managed to sign up 100 customers including some large Fortune 500 companies like Cox Communications, Siemens, and Boston Scientific.
Now, with an additional $8 million in financing from Resolve Growth Partners, the company is hoping to expand its sales and marketing efforts and continue to refine its product.
The technology was initially invented by Bart Guthrie, a neurosurgeon at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who wanted a way to improve telepresence technologies so he could assist with remote surgeries.
What Guthrie developed was a technology that could merge video streams to that experts could remotely monitor, manage, and assist in everything from service repairs to surgery.
“Think of it as a video call on steroids,” says Gary York, the company’s chief executive officer. A serial entrepreneur,
Andy Rachleff founded Wealthfront a decade ago to give investors a better and smarter way to manage their wealth, building on core academic research showing that a carefully balanced portfolio of low-fee ETFs outperformed more aggressive strategies. Since then, the company has taken in billions of dollars of invested capital under management and expanded into new banking services, including high-interest checking accounts.
Rachleff and I talked on Extra Crunch Live about where Wealthfront is heading as it speeds toward its second decade, how he sees the competition from other, more active trading platforms like Robinhood and his advice for startup founders looking to build enduring products and companies away from the daily status quo.
Rachleff began our conversation talking about the future of Wealthfront, which is increasingly moving beyond its wealth management app to new services.
“Our vision is to automate all of your finances —
Facebook joined the growing ranks of companies publicly complaining about the 30% fee that Apple collects on payments made through its App Store.
Those complaints came midway through a blog post about the social network’s new feature supporting paid online events. Facebook said that to support struggling businesses, it won’t be collecting any fees on those events, at least for the next year, which means that those businesses keep 100% of payments on the web and on Android.
But Facebook said that won’t be the case on iOS, due to App Store fees, and it took aim at Apple with surprisingly direct language (at least, direct for a corporate blog post):
We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only
Welcome back to Human Capital, where we look at all things labor and diversity, equity and inclusion. This week, Uber and Lyft’s legal battle against a California law pertaining to independent contractors continued. As of right now, it’s looking like Uber and Lyft are going to temporarily cease operations in California next week if they can’t get their way.
Meanwhile, Pinterest employees reached their breaking point when former COO Françoise Brougher sued Pinterest alleging gender discrimination and wrongful termination. Now, they’re demanding systemic change at the company in light of the latest allegation of discrimination.
Gig Life Uber and Lyft say they’ll have to temporarily pause operations in California
A lot happened with Uber and Lyft this week, so let’s break down exactly what transpired. But first, a quick recap of the events leading up to Uber threatening to cease operations in California.
January 1, 2020: