Clearview AI: The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy As We Know It

Ricky Vaughn is back in the news.

New York Times:

“Until recently, Hoan Ton-That’s greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump’s distinctive yellow hair on their own photos.

Then Mr. Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously, and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.

His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants. …

In addition to Mr. Ton-That, Clearview was founded by Richard Schwartz — who was an aide to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was mayor of New York — and backed financially by Peter Thiel, a venture capitalist behind Facebook and Palantir. …”

Buzzfeed:

“Originally known as Smartcheckr, Clearview was the result of an unlikely partnership between Ton-That, a small-time hacker turned serial app developer, and Richard Schwartz, a former adviser to then–New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. Ton-That told the Times that they met at a 2016 event at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, after which they decided to build a facial recognition company. …

By the election, Ton-That was on the Trump train, attending an election night event where he was photographed with Johnson and his former business partner Pax Dickinson.

The following February, Smartcheckr LLC was registered in New York, with Ton-That telling the Times that he developed the image-scraping tools while Schwartz covered the operating costs. By August that year, they registered Clearview AI in Delaware, according to incorporation documents.

While there’s little left online about Smartcheckr, BuzzFeed News obtained and confirmed a document, first reported by the Times, in which the company claimed it could provide voter ad microtargeting and “extreme opposition research” to Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist who was running on an extremist platform to fill the Wisconsin congressional seat of the departing speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

A Smartcheckr contractor, Douglass Mackey, pitched the services to Nehlen. Mackey later became known for running the racist and highly influential Trump-boosting Twitter account Ricky Vaughn. Described by HuffPost as “Trump’s most influential white nationalist troll,” Mackey built a following of tens of thousands of users with a mix of far-right propaganda, racist tropes, and anti-Semitic cartoons. MIT’s Media Lab ranked Vaughn, who used multiple accounts to dodge several bans, as one of the top 150 influencers of the 2016 presidential election — ahead of NBC News and the Drudge Report. …

By summer 2018, Ton-That and Schwartz were working on Clearview AI and their image-scraping software had begun to take off. The company raised funding from billionaire venture capitalist and Facebook board member Peter Thiel and other investors, and Ton-That applied to XRC Labs, a New York–based startup accelerator focused on retail technology. …”

I’m sure that Hoan Ton-That who was deeply involved with Mike Cernovich, Pax Dickinson, Chuck Johnson, Peter Thiel and Richard Schwartz had no idea who Ricky Vaughn was when he worked for Smartcheckr. It was just a total coincidence that he was working there in 2018.

I remember a few people who defended Paul Nehlen’s doxxing of Ricky Vaughn saying at the time that Smartcheckr was a data mining operation and that it was harvesting information about the Far Right for the GOP. I wrote it off as Ricky Vaughn just doing some kind of normal consulting work. No one knew the true scale of what Smartcheckr was up to though until this story came out. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security and hundred of law enforcement agencies all now have access to the Smartcheckr/Clearview AI database which uses a facial recognition tool to identify anonymous people beyond anything developed by Big Tech or the government.

As with MILO and Steve Bannon, this is just the latest proof that there was a GOP effort to manipulate the White Nationalist vote for Trump in the 2016 election and that Ricky Vaughn’s anonymous account was the spearhead of that effort on Twitter. It also continued after Charlottesville and well into 2018 until the blow up with Paul Nehlen. Back then, the tentacles of influence stretched from Steve Bannon through MILO to the Alt-Right and through Roger Stone to Cernovich and Alex Pilosov to Weev and through Peter Thiel to various people and through Rudy Giuliani to Richard Schwartz to Hoan-Tot That and Ricky Vaughn.

Undoubtedly, the Trump campaign will try to come up with a similar influence operation for the 2020 election although that is going to be vastly complicated by the fact that Roger Stone is currently in jail, Bannon has been deplatformed, MILO’s career has been destroyed, Giuliani is embroiled in the Ukraine scandal and Ricky Vaughn has been doxed and wiped out. Trump also has to run on his record rather than the bullshit he sold us in the 2016 election and won’t get anywhere close to the support he got in our community last time around.

UPDATE: Jared Howe has a podcast on the subject:

“When Paul Nehlen dropped Ricky Vaughn’s dox a couple years ago in retaliation for Vaughn’s targeted harassment (which was retaliation for Nehlen not hiring SmartCheckr, the company Vaughn was contracting for), we were told by CREDIBLE SOURCES on the right that SmartCheckr’s facial recognition database didn’t exist and that anyone who said otherwise (like Nehlen, Chris Cantwell, and myself) is a LIAR.

Fast forward a couple years and it turns out the allegations Nehlen made about Smartcheckr are probably true after all. They’re now rebranded as a new company — Clearview AI — and they’ve moved on from campaign strategy to marketing their dox database as a law enforcement tool.

I’m gonna tell you all about it since this conflict between Nehlen and Vaughn is what originally led to Chris Cantwell being ostracized by the Alt-Right. Chris was arrested yesterday, as you may have heard, so I’ll be doing an update about that, as well.”

This is what Ricky Vaughn and Smartcheckr were trying to sell Paul Nehlen.

“3 – Using its proprietary search and facial recognition technology, Smartcheckr will develop highly refined data and analysis of Nehlen’s e-mail list and the L2 database unavailable through conventional research. For example, Smartcheckr will analyze each voter’s social media and other data to gauge their views regarding:

About Hunter Wallace 9521 Articles
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37 Comments

  1. The depth of duplicity, media and information mining/management/control is beyond the pale.
    I’m just aghast.

      • It was obvious to me early on that “Ricky Vaughn” was a professional PR guy.

        What “Ricky” was doing is as old as the hills, he took Trump campaign press releases, and put his own alt-right, alt-White spin on them. Cernovich, Mitchell, and other were doing it too.

        Writing press releases is not rocket science.

  2. Trump doesn’t need the few thousand votes the “alt-right” might give him. He’s got Likud and Davos on his side.

    • Maybe so.

      Regardless, we have to decide how to approach the 2020 election. Are we going to be a Trump cheerleading squad like in 2016 and 2018? Are we going to vote for the GOP again like in 2016 and 2018? Would we better or worse off after a Trump second term? How have all the takes on Trump held up over the previous four years?

      Questions. Questions.

        • Tulsi and Bernie support open borders and degeneracy, and Bernie’s campaign is crawling with Antifa.

          Why not vote for the Constitution Party? They are solid on immigration, foreign policy and the social issues.

          • Voting against Trump means doing one’s best to defeat Zion Don.

            One vote can’t do much, but voting Constitution Party means letting Trump win. Why not just stay home and do anything else, if you don’t mean to vote against the evil Zionist who wants to kill us all?

          • The truth is that voting doesn’t matter and its all a rigged, predetermined hoax…bread and circuses for the masses.
            Muh entitlements and debates…oy gevalt.

  3. Vaughn signed a petition from 2009 against antisemitism under his own (real) name and went on to psychoanalyse the protesters at charlottesville along with pleasureman from my posting career blaming them for the violence.

    I have always thought he was an odious little crypto Jew.

    Weev of course runs the backroom at counter currents.

      • All of these big personalities that emerged in 2015-2016 were all working influence ops for Thiel, Roger Stone, Richard Schwartz, etc. And, of course, these guys are all connected to Israel.

        And the plan to use the alt right and white nationalists started even before that. I now believe that weev taking over daily stormer was a part of this, with the goal of electing Donald Trump. We know that weev is friends with all of these people (Chuck Johnson et al). One clue that this was a plan is that weev declared on his Twitter account that Trump would be president exactly one year before Trump announced his candidacy, which is either an unbelievable coincidence or an indication of foreknowledge of the Trump campaign strategy. This also roughly coincides with the time that weev took control of the daily stormer. And today, weev is probably one of the only people still shilling for Trump, along with a few other people who are obviously bought, such as bronze age perv.

          • November,

            Speaking of perverts. Here is some interesting information I found on a Catholic website on a Pedophile being burned alive by townspeople. This information was found on Most Holy Family Monastery website. Naturally, the authorities are more upset by justice to a pervert than in what perverts do.

            A Mexican man who was arrested for raping and murdering a small child was killed by an angry lynch mob who burned him alive after wresting him from police custody.

            The man, 37-year-old Alfredo Roblero, was arrested last Friday after being accused of raping and decapitating a 6-year-old girl named “Jarid N.” who went missing in the Mexican city of Cacahoatan on January 9.

            Faja de Oro (“Belt of Gold”) villagers in the Mexican state of Chiapas converged on a Tapachulas police vehicle carrying Roblero before dragging him out of the vehicle.

            Footage shows Roblero tied to a red pole surrounded by angry residents, as one of the girl’s relatives can be heard pleading with villagers to allow police to take him away.

            Another video shows him dragged from the pole onto a grass clearing where people take turns beating him, before he was allegedly doused with gasoline and set afire.

            One account from AFP claims, “police tried to intervene but were overpowered by the mob,” while a report from MexicoNewsDaily.com claims, “The Tapachula police officers reportedly did nothing to stop the crowd from killing Roblero.”

            Following the incident, the Chiapas Attorney General announced an investigation and said they would “not allow the public to carry out justice by its own hand.”

            The AFP reports, “Lynchings are frequent in Mexico, where an estimated 98 per cent of violent crimes are never punished.”

          • November,

            My grandmother mentioned a case before WW 2 in Texas where a Mexican raped an Anglo girl in a predominately Mexican neighborhood. She said the Mexicans got to the man who did the crime and killed him. Beat him to death. The issue was not taken to the police.

            There are times when being primitive is better than being over civilized. I believe the incident was in Houston.

          • Cristina,

            Well, that pedophile received justice and a tutorial for hell.

            If Roblero was indeed guilty of this heinous crime, I find nothing wrong with the sentence handed down by the townsfolk.

            The odd part of the story was one of the victim’s relatives attempting to stop the mob from killing him. That the police stood by and didn’t do anything to stop the execution is surprising due to him being wrestled away from them. One would think that out of pride that they might have made at least a halfhearted effort to reclaim their prisoner. But then again, those police officers probably live in that town, and sided with the residents. The Chiapas Attorney General sounds like he’s just talking to make the air move around in front of the reporters to “save face.” In a crime ridden country like Mexico, “where 98% of the violent crimes are never punished,” why wouldn’t the people get fed up and turn into vigilantes?

            I thought Mexico didn’t have the death penalty. LOL!

            Once upon a time in America, incidences like that occurred where the cops turned a blind eye to true ‘social justice.’ Other times, a furious crowd would lay siege to a police station, until the criminal was turned over for some country community justice.

          • November,

            I was almost to bed when i found your comment. I am in an earlier time zone but it is still late.

            When there is no human justice then citizens have the right to enforce and punish. If the State was doing their job none of this would be necessary. Lots of Indians in Chiapas.

            It is possible that one of the girl’s relatives was not immediate family. I do not know.

            Mexico is ready for a dictator. Actually, it always is. Or a Queen.

        • @dart, when you envision them as a plain clothed bolshevik army, with each member of the tribe filling different positions and ranks within that army and that army is currently attacking North America…you’ll stop having these ideas that they are not connected and are just “friends” that happened to be at the same place at the same time doing the same thing.
          #EverySingleTime

  4. Maybe the resistance Democrats did us a favor persecuting the Bannon/Roger Stone wing and collapsing the Trump sphere of influence for us.

    It’s obvious that the Trump sphere of influence are bad people with an equally bad agenda.

    • Absolutely, it astonishes me how many pro-white people simply want a pat on the head while the gop enacts the same anti-white policies they fear monger against.

      What I still don’t understand is why Eric striker shilled for ricky Vaughn this past summer in 2019.

      Ricky was called out at a local farmers market and harassed by antifa, striker and mike went on for over 45 minutes defending him???

      We have limited resources and to think TRS was directing their audience to donate to a glow in the dark gop operative is insane.

      Especially for striker who was the target of much of the optics war attacks. For him to cape and shill for Douglas in late 2019 is bizarre and why I frankly do not trust TRS at all.

      • That was a different guy. Ricky Vaughn was Douglass Mackey (named after Frederick Douglass by his deranged parents). The farmer’s market guy was Douglas Mackey, with only one “s.”

        • No dude, it says Douglas Mackey in the second paragraph on the daily beast article.

          What stood out to me at the time is the fact in the daily beast article (who broke the story) they name mackey as Douglas mackey but never mentioned his alias “ricky Vaughn”

          Yeah striker (and mike) knowingly shilled for ricky vaughn in 2019 after he spent years attacking him/them. Either TRS are gop goons or they’re bitchmade pussies with a such a bad case of Stockholm syndrome they ban people bad mouthing the people attacking them while kissing ass to people attacking them (who have shown themselves to be Jewish gop operatives).

          Either way TRS is worthless.

          https://www.thedailybeast.com/farmers-markets-have-new-unwelcome-guests-fascists

  5. Looking back and saying anyone made mistakes is like Mother Earth looking back and saying evolution made mistakes.

    That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works. Over 95% of life species that evolved and existed are now extinct. None of it was a mistake. That’s just how it works.

    Life learns, programs the changes, and moves on.

    Those who seek to defeat us understand natural selection, human-social psychology/control and social engineering like a science and they are master experts. There are six gorillion obstacles, detours, and minefields in our way. But the way is the path and the treaded path is the endless goal and all that exists in Life.

    We are Life and embedded within us is deep power. Mother Earth doesn’t care who wins and there are no rules, only the rules that we create for ourselves and the rules our rulers create for us.

    The only wish I have looking back is that ‘Unite the Right’ was held not in the middle of the summer but in the middle of the winter (ski masks and stuff, the cold selects against the weak like antifa, decreases sub-saharan chimping, keeps the less enthused/serious inside, etc). It seems that pro-whites forgot the basics of racial science that Dr. David Duke alluded to in ‘My Awakening’ and that anyone who lives in a metropolitan area fully understands.

    Oh well……maybe next time.

    • yep….you make a great point!
      I really loved the stuff HW did about a yr ago about people from colder climates being smarter and more advanced in life because of preparation.
      Really interesting stuff!
      We all know cold weather beez raycisss whitey JuJu mashick n sheeeeit created by a racist mother earth and “God” to hold down da blaggmanz…like DNA ebidence does in rape and murders, muhfuggah

  6. Wignats BEEN TOLD YOU!

    Some people see the truth when it’s staring them in the face. Others don’t see it until it bites them in the ass.

    I believe that some people were genuinely fooled by Rickey Vaughn.

    But the ferocity with which some people defended him clearly demonstrates they weren’t fooled, they were in on it. May crypto Jew Douglass Mackey and his army of trolls rot in hell!

  7. The people at TRS and Daily Stormer need to apologize for supporting a Jewish controlled infiltrator who was trying to strip white identity out of the alt-right. Paul Nelhen did everyone a big favor by exposing this enemy agent. That specific 4chan troll oriented section of the alt-right was the part that got infiltrated and subverted, not Stormfront, not Southern Nationalism, not HBD.

    I was on the TRS forum and interacted with Mackey. He was clearly not one of us. He didn’t know anything about the history of white nationalism, the alt-right or of racial issues in America. His knowledge of anything was superficial, he didn’t come across as very bright. He kept trying to tell the people on the forum not to talk about race and that race wasn’t important, we just need conservatives in office again. He was being strongly supported by Mike Enoch and Jesse. Many people were banned by Jesse specifically for calling out Mackey’s subversion.

    We have to do some debriefings about what went wrong over the last few years. One of the biggest issues was the excessive use of humor and irony in alt-right discourse. This created an atmosphere in which is was impossible to determine who was sincere and who wasn’t. The irony culture created perfect petri dish for infiltrators to thrive.

    Let’s all give thanks to Paul Nelhen for his courageous exposure of an enemy agent in the face of vicious attacks from the people who were duped. Let’s remember who the people who were conned were – TRS, DS – and treat those people and their followers with due skepticism. No one who got conned by the Mackey gay op is in a position to lecture others in the movement about anything. The need to admit they were wrong and show contrition.

    • DS is controlled by weev, who is also a Jewish infiltrator, so there will be no apology forthcoming from them. Anglin still writes positively of Saint Vaughn to this day.

      TRS I think were just manipulated. They bought into the “insider access” lie that Douglass Mackey was promising them. Only condition was trusting the plan and shilling for the Republicans. They got burned and hopefully have learned their lesson.

      To his credit, Richard Spencer is the only alt right public figure who saw that the “insiders” were just trying to string him along and co-opt his audience, so he cut ties early.

      • If TRS has learned their lesson, they need to publicly state so. They need to publicly condemn Mackey and apologize to Nehlen. I have seen nothing to indicate that TRS has changed their pro-Mackey stance. Does anyone know what the situation is now?

        • In fairness, they’ve always been pretty milquetoast. If they end up telling their followers to vote against Trump in 2020, I’ll be happy with that.

          People who listen to their stuff and know about Mackey and his boss are already there.

          It seems possible that they might chase off some people who can be brought round if they go hard on this, because of their stupid, misguided shilling for that disgusting Zionist puppet. So perhaps, avoiding the question is excusable? I must admit, it doesn’t sound that convincing even to me.

      • @Dart @ATBOTL

        TRS was shilling ricky vaughn just this past summer when vaughn was called out at a local farmers market.

        Striker and Mike spent over 45 minutes shilling for vaughn on strike & mike in late 2019.

        There are no excuses for this period.

        By late 2019 EVERYONE knew vaughn was a glow in the dark gop operative.

        All of that information was public at that time, and still SUPER BASED eric striker instructed their audience to donate money to a trust fund baby and glow in the dark gop operative Douglas mackey.

        I agree that DS is the brains behind pro-white disinfo, and when looking at weev’s connections to alex pilsov, chuck johnson/allan dershowitz (all of whom have heavy connections to the adl) its clear daily stormer is an ADL operation.

        TRS are grifting lackies riding on DS coattails. Begging and pleading for them to take it easy on them.

        When daily stormer first attacked trs this past summer, how did sven react? By kissing daily stormers ass and showed off his red new balances in a humiliating display of submission. “I know you just called us all feds mr dershowitz, but please allan, please nice ADL man stop attacking me plz!”

        Shortly after that HARDCORE THIRD POSITIONISTS eric striker showed his subservience by humiliating himself on strike & mike shilling for donations for Douglas mackey.

        All of this while daily stormer were flat out lying about TRS being feds, but trs’s response was too adorn the red ds shoes and shill for donations for ricky vaughn.

        TRS sucked daily stormer (adl) cock for access to internet infrastructure, and payment processors. For a movement that prides themselves for noticing patterns, no one seemed to notice that TRS had to self censoring themselves to keep their payment processor after they had a falling out with DS.

        I was willing to give TRS a break for bad decision making during 16/17 but when you refuse to call out evil, you become the evil you refuse to confront.

        TRS chooses not to get involved in “beef” not because they’re removed from it or because they’re against attacking people (they attack spencer on ever episode of tds with the “ah-heh” and “made for fucking” meme) but because they are in fact an ego driven vanity project. Even more than money itself mike is driven by a vain desire to be liked, and anything that threatens his popularity he will submit to. Which is why he lets himself get punked by daily stormer, he would rather eat shit than punch back and risk losing more clout. Completely worthless.

        TRS is a total dead-end and not worth supporting

        • Thanks for the update.

          I think the TRS people are sincere, but they have exercised bad judgement on many occasions, with real consequences. Let’s all remember that TRS and Daily Stormer were very, very close. They both rose together and cross promoted the same ideas and tactics(like shutting down mainstream conservative comments sections with harassment rather than trying to debate them). Both were heavily involved in promoting nazi imagery, TRS’s two main shows are both named after nazi references. Both sites came out of nowhere and both were disrespectful and contemptuous of the previously existing alt-right and white nationalist movement. Both sites used sick humor about the holocaust, terrorism, nazis etc. as their primary gimmick.

          TRS were incredibly slow to get off the Trump train and kept making excuses as Trump sold out. Since, then, their pod casts have been boring and aimless, mostly talking about sci-fi and other nerd pursuits. They have a very strong resistance to introspection or analysis of recent events. When reality does intrude, they act petulant and aloof, as if talking about what happened since the election uninteresting and uncool to care about. Like many people, I notice a juvenile, middle school cafeteria vibe around that scene. Like everyone is desperate to be at the cool table and fit in.

          They were heavily invested in believing that Trump was someone he is not and are having a very hard time dealing with being let down. They expected a fast and easy victory. Let’s learn lessons for the future.

        • The farmers’ market guy was a different Douglas Mackey, just to clarify. Ricky Vaughn’s name was spelled Douglass Mackey. It’s a coincidence they have similar names, but it’s not the same guy. Here is his website: https://douglasmackey.com

          There are photos of him, and you can see it isn’t RV. This is an older guy with wife and kids.

  8. Let me add a very, very important point. Part of what went wrong with the alt-right was all these new people started their groups that were run by people who had only been nationalists for couple of years. No one who is in the movement for less than 10 year should ever be in charge of anything. Even if they do all the work on a project, they should let a more experienced person be their boss and have final say. That is how 100% of activists outside of the alt-right, 100% of business corporations and 100% of governments operate. It’s proven that this is the only reasonable way to do anything. Young people and newcomers cannot be leaders. Look at the Fuentes situation.

    We have an organizational crisis in our movement. We are the worst organized movement in the world. Our groups are mostly one man run cults with less organization that a local chapter of the Crips gang.

    New people should be looking to volunteer to work for established groups, not start their own.

  9. I didn’t trust him even when i first found out about him he was the ultimate optics cuck never naming the heebs. I also don’t trust anyone who uses charlie sheen in there avatar pic

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