Photo app Ever uses the photos that people upload to its service to train facial recognition tools. These tools are then sold to private companies, law enforcement, and the military (via NBC News).
To organize your Files and to enable you to share them with the right people, Ever uses facial recognition technologies as part of the Service. Your Files may be used to help improve and train our products and these technologies. Some of these technologies may be used in our separate products and services for enterprise customers, including our enterprise face recognition offerings, but your Files and your personal information will not be.
From the article it sounds like Ever only added this reference after NBC reached out to the company. The company started in 2013 as a cloud storage service for photos and videos. But as CEO Doug Aley said, it wasn’t profitable enough:
Aley, who joined Ever in 2016, said in a phone interview that the company decided to explore facial recognition about two-and-a-half years ago when he and other company leaders realized that a free photo app with some small paid premium features “wasn’t going to be a venture-scale business.”
Ever makes it clear that the photos themselves aren’t shared, just the facial recognition tools it creates. But that doesn’t put many people at ease. As one photographer said, “I was not aware of any facial recognition in the Ever app. Which is kind of creepy since I have pictures of both my children on there as well as friends that have never consented to this type of thing.”
Mr. Aley said he didn’t receive any customer complaints about the facial recognition. Which makes sense if they didn’t know it was happening in the first place.