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Facial Recognition App Raises Privacy And Legal Concerns; Trump's Impeachment Through The Lens Of History; Best Moments Of Hollywood's Biggest Night. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 10, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: But now, a start-up called Clearview AI is triggering fears about how far facial recognition technology can go. It developed an app that can find your face online almost instantly even if you've deleted photos or changed your privacy settings.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan put the app to the test, and Donie, it sounds as though you were shocked by what you found.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I absolutely was very shocked. If you or your family has a social media account, it's possible there are pictures of you in a new facial recognition database being used by law enforcements here in the United States.

I met the founder of the company selling the powerful and controversial new software, and here's what happened when he ran a picture of me through that database.


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Wow, oh, my god.


O'SULLIVAN: That photo is me.

TON-THAT: Doesn't look like you. That's when you're younger?

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): That's my face, a photo I haven't seen in years, found in seconds by the facial recognition app Clearview Ai.

TON-THAT: Clearview is basically a search engine for faces.

O'SULLIVAN: Clearview has scraped billions of images from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google to use in a facial recognition system. It claims more than 600 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Canada are using this, though it's unclear how many have actually paid for it.

TON-THAT: So that's the photo of you.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): So this is a photo of me from Wow. We're starting to see pictures of me that are not from that original image.

(Voice-over): Tech giants aren't happy about this. They say it violates their terms of service and have sent cease-and-desist letters.

(On camera): This AI technology is looking at what? It's looking at -

TON-THAT: The unique features, so it learns to ignore things a little bit like the beard and focus on the features that stay the same across different age.

O'SULLIVAN: Do you understand why people find this creepy?

TON-THAT: I can understand people having concerns around privacy. So the first part to remember, it's only publicly available information. We're not just making technology for its own sake. The reason and the purpose we found is to really help law enforcement solve crimes.

GURBIR SINGH GREWAL, NEW JERSEY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was deeply disturbed. I was concerned about how Clearview had amassed its database of images. I was concerned about its data privacy and I was concerned that it was tracking law enforcement searches.

O'SULLIVAN: Are you concerned about taking a tool as powerful as that out of the hands of law enforcement?

GREWAL: A facial recognition can be used properly if we understand how the database is created.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Clearview claims its app is 99 percent accurate, a claim that CNN hasn't verified.

(On camera): So you think this is an area that should be regulated?

TON-THAT: Yes, absolutely. I don't think regulation is a bad thing. And we want to work with the government to create with the government something understandable and puts the country at ease.


O'SULLIVAN: Now, since this company was first uncovered by the "New York Times" it has sparked a debate about privacy and if police should be able to access your Facebook photos in this way. For their part, the social media companies are not happy about this. They are asking Clearview to stop downloading photos from their platforms but it's not clear if those companies have any power to actually stop Clearview from doing so.

CAMEROTA; But you're saying some of these are deleted photos. They live there forever. What are we to do to get to wipe it clean?

O'SULLIVAN: So essentially you can't get your face removed from this database. I guess if you could get your face removed from this database, so could criminals and it would defeat the purpose. We have a longer version of this story on and we ran my producer's face through this. What actually showed up was pictures from her Instagram account even though her Instagram account has been locked and has been private for almost a year.

So even though nobody can publicly access the photos right now, Clearview grabbed them before she made the account private and has all her pictures.

CAMEROTA: Oh, no. I don't like this.

Donie, thank you for alerting us to all of this. We really appreciate it. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of pictures of you.

CAMEROTA: There might be. So I'm afraid.

BERMAN: President trump is retaliating against impeachment witnesses. So how will history judge these actions?

Presidential Historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin joins us next.



BERMAN: An adviser to President Trump says the firings of two impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that testifying against the president will not be tolerated. The president really fired both Lieutenant Colonel Vindman -- Alexander Vindman and the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. That happened Friday.

Joining us now presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, she is also the executive producer of the new History Channel miniseries, "Washington," which we'll go to in a minute because I submit this is all connected.

But, Doris, first I want to ask you about these firings, because when we've seen presidents go through crisis before, typically there's a learning process. After impeachment with Bill Clinton, there was contrition. He came out and apologized. I think that's where I learned the word contrition. After the Bay of Pigs, John F. Kennedy came out and there was a sort of sense where he admitted he was wrong and would change.

But what does the firing of these two people who testified under oath tell you about what President Trump learned from this process?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, it's sending a very different message, I think, and it's sending a message to the people who are against him rather than a message to the country.

When Bill Clinton said he was profoundly sorry for what he had done and for imposing this burden on Congress and the people, it was a way of saying now we must move forward to reconciliation and to recovery and to forgiveness.

And the same thing when John Kennedy admitted error in the Bay of Pigs, take responsibility for it. He was then able to move forward, change his political structure around, and make it ready for the Cuban missile crisis.

When Abraham Lincoln comes triumphant in March of 1865, the war's about to be won by the North, but no triumphant message does he deliver. On the contrary he says both sides prayed to the same God, neither's prayers were fully answered. And then of course the famous words with malice toward none and charity for all, let us bind up the nation's wounds.


So in each case they were looking to heal the country. And it's a different thing for payback for President Trump. His may fit today's divided world and maybe it will get him what he wants, you know, that ever loyal base and the ardor of his supporters but history will regard it differently, I believe.

BERMAN: So interesting to hear you quote Abraham Lincoln there with malice toward none. We had Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia on a few minutes ago, and he's a Democrat that President Trump has the greatest chance of working on anything with. He's the one Democrat maybe who will work with the president on some things, yet the president is calling him names on Twitter. That is certainly not with malice toward none this morning.

GOODWIN: That is certainly not. I'm not sure, other than, you know, it gets something good out of your system if your system is filled with anger and resentment, but, you know, one of the other things that Lincoln tried to work on, he said, we're all filled with envy and anger and resentment and jealousy. It's part of human nature, right? But if you allow those feelings to fester it's going to poison you. You have to move forward, you can't be looking back to the past.

BERMAN: One of the things that I love hearing from you when we get a chance to talk is how America has been tested before. As bad as things can seem, you always point out, look, we went through a civil war, we went through a great depression. The country has been tested. But I wonder if institutions, what you think about how institutions have been tested before, and how the institutions of the country are being tested in some ways right now.

GOODWIN: Yes, that's a really good question, John. You know, in a certain sense, I had more faith that earlier on when people were in the Senate or in the House, that was their highest loyalty. It was so exciting to be a senator or a congressman. And you felt you had a loyalty to that institution that went beyond even your loyalty to your party.

I mean, when I think about Everett Dickerson voting to help break the filibuster and he's a Republican minority leader because he thought the Senate had to get that Civil Rights Bill through or the Senate would not be doing its duty, and he put that duty to the Senate and his love of that larger institution ahead of the needs for his party to be against what some of them wanted to be and to vote for civil rights. And that's what you need. That ambition has to be something bigger

right now than party. Party seems everything for everybody. And we need that ambition for the country, for the greater good, and even the institutional loyalty that is larger than that ambition for self.

BERMAN: I have to tell you, I'm so excited to watch this new miniseries in the History Channel on Washington because it's sort of my jam to begin with, but also because of where we are in the country. And when the founding fathers were devising the Constitution and thinking about the future of the country they knew who was going to be first president.

They knew that George Washington was the guy they wanted there at the beginning. But what they were planning for was for the people after Washington, when people couldn't necessarily stand up to his example.

But I wonder if they ever envisioned what would happen to the presidency. What do you think?

GOODWIN: I mean, you're so right. I think they didn't feel the need to spell out in great detail what the presidential powers would be or what the presidential protections against the president should be because it was Washington. He was their guy. They knew he didn't want to be a king, he didn't want to be called his mightiness. They knew as it turned out that he was going to go home after two terms and not try to stay in office like a monarch would.

But they did have some provisions in there about impeachment for that potential other guy that might appear in time. But I think if they knew more what would happen as the time went on, they would have stayed a little longer maybe and made it more clear what would constitute the need for impeachment because it's pretty muddled as we see it right now. But it's there. They put it there knowing there would be some post-Washington character but maybe not as enough as we would have wished they have done.

BERMAN: Yes. They could have included a few more details, as far as I'm concerned, about how maybe the Senate should conduct the trial, or the House should convict the impeachment. I get the sole power to impeach and the sole power to try. But maybe that's not enough.

And to that end, one of the things I've been talking about on the show, Alisyn makes fun of me, is I'm a little down on the Constitution. I'm not sure that there's enough there to guide what the country has become at this point.

GOODWIN: Well, I think it's really up to us still. I mean, it's up to public sentiment. I mean, if the impeachment were to have gone in a different direction, it would have been because the hearings had been able to educate the country.

There's still enough in that Constitution, there's still enough in the history of how it's been used, and there's still enough in civic virtue. And that's one of the things Lincoln kept saying, we have to remind people of what the revolution and the ideals were about. They should be reading these things to their mothers and mothers should be reading it to their children at night. We can't forget the ideals of our country.

And as revolutionary people go out of life and they are gone, then we have to bring them back. So that's what we really need. Let's just carry them all back now and they can give us advice on what to do.

BERMAN: What's the most surprising thing --

GOODWIN: I love to think of them as alive anyway.

BERMAN: What's the most -- if only.


GOODWIN: About Washington?

BERMAN: What's the most surprising thing we're going to learn about Washington in this series?

GOODWIN: Well, I think the most surprising thing at least for me, who had to learn from a lot of my fellow historians, is that in his early life he really needed to grow a lot. That he was ambitious for self. He made a lot of mistakes of judgments. At the beginning he didn't take responsibility for those mistakes. But as he grew through war, war becomes an extraordinary learning experience. He didn't get to go to London like his half-brothers did because his father died so he had to learn through experience.

Once he saw war, no longer was it romantic, no longer was it an adventure. He saw body parts. And once he understood the mistakes he had made, he grew so that he didn't make the same mistakes twice. And as a result of that, I felt connected to him. I'm not sure I ever felt emotionally connected to him before, maybe it's because he's played by an actor and I think the actor does a really good job.

But I think more because we see the arc of his whole life so that when he finally comes to die, I felt sad. And that's the mark of really caring about something that you don't want them to die at the end. No, keep going, have more time in Mt. Vernon to relax. That's what I kept wishing.

BERMAN: Well, look, you just gave away the ending but aside from that, thanks so much for being --

GOODWIN: Oh, he dies in the end. I'm sorry.


BERMAN: Doris Kearns Goodman, it's always a pleasure to speak with you. "Washington" premiers Presidents' Day weekend, and you can watch it Sunday, Monday, Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and the Pacific on the History Channel.

Great to see you, Doris.


CAMEROTA: She does not seem willing to give up on the Constitution like you were trying to get her to say.

BERMAN: I'm not willing to give up, but I think she gave me a little bit of license to question about whether or not there's enough there. Just saying.

CAMEROTA: All right. Meanwhile, speaking of history, there was a history-making moment at the Academy Awards last night.




CAMEROTA: You had me.

BERMAN: George Washington dies at the end.

CAMEROTA; That surprise and more, next.




FONDA: And the Oscar goes to "Parasite."


CAMEROTA: The crowd roared for this historic win at the Oscars. South Korean film "Parasite" becoming the first non-English language film to win Best Picture.

Joining us now with all the highlights is Entertainment Tonight host and CNN contributor Nischelle Turner.

Nischelle, great to see you.


CAMEROTA: Thanks for getting up extra early for us.

BERMAN: She didn't go to sleep.


TURNER: Same makeup, same jewelry. Didn't go to sleep.

CAMEROTA: You look fabulous as always. So tell us the significance of "Parasite" winning.

TURNER: Yes. Well, huge. It's 92 years of Oscar history shattered in one night. You know, you mentioned that "Parasite" won Best Picture. That's the first non-English language film to do so. I have to tell you I was at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday

and I was talking to a lot of Oscar voters and at the awards, they were telling me, I voted for "Parasite," I voted for "Parasite." So I started to think, is there a bit of a shift here? Then when Bong Joon Ho won for Best Director last night, you felt it. You felt it through the room. You felt it through, you know, people started really buzzing, can this happen?

And then when it won Best Picture, I mean, everyone went crazy. They actually shut the mics down at one point and Tom Hanks in the audience started screaming, up, up, put them back up so they could finish what they were saying because everyone in the audience just wanted them to have their moment.

BERMAN: Tom Hanks does have veto power over the entire productions of the Oscars broadcast.

TURNER: Yes, he does. They brought them back up, so yes, he does.

BERMAN: I think it's probably. Look, another one of the moments --

TURNER: Well, they brought them back up so yes, he does.

BERMAN: One of the least surprising things, "Parasite" was surprising, would have been surprising a few weeks ago. I think you're right, it wasn't surprising necessarily over the last few days. But one of the least surprising I think was Brad Pitt winning Best Supporting Actor. He did choose, which is interesting, to get political at his acceptance speech. Let's listen.


BRAD PITT, OSCAR WINNER, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week.


PITT: I'm thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing.


BERMAN: A little surprising given how his acceptance speeches have gone over the awards season, right?

TURNER: Yes. Yes, I was going to mention that. You know, he's been kind of the funny, glib, irreverent Brad Pitt, you know, just the coolest guy in the room throughout this award season when he's won all these awards. And it was really interesting that he took last night to make a real political point. And, you know, he made it in a little bit of a joking way but it was a very pointed comment.

I think there've been a lot of -- we saw a lot of that last night, I know that sometimes people like, I don't want the Oscars to be political, but a lot of times the actors take that moment to say what's on their heart. Joaquin Phoenix did it again last night. We saw other political statements from Steve Martin and Chris Rock throughout their monologue when they opened the show.

We also saw Jane Fond make a statement. She was wearing the same dress last night that she wore in 2014. Kind of a nod to be more sustainable. So there was a lot of that last night throughout the show.

CAMEROTA: One of your highlights was Cynthia Erivo singing.

TURNER: Yes. Yes.

CAMEROTA: So let's just listen to that for a second.

So she did not win. Why was this so special for you?

TURNER: Well, first of all, it was a song that she wrote for Harriet, which was of course her playing Harriet Tubman. I thought it was beautiful. She had the chance to become the youngest EGOT member to win last night and she didn't, but I just thought this was haunting, it was beautiful. It stuck me right in my heart. And if you didn't get goosebumps from it, then, you know, stay away from me because it was just one of the really striking moments of the night.

BERMAN: Really fantastic. Another thing that wasn't a surprise but the significance hit me when it happened was when Renee Zellweger won for Best Actress because --


BERMAN: You know, sometimes Hollywood just chooses or decides when performers are done, particularly women. It's not particularly fair. Right?


TURNER: Yes. For sure. For sure.

BERMAN: So Hollywood can decide you're done. Well, she didn't let Hollywood decide she was done.


BERMAN: She was gone for years but see her back there and winning not just -- you know, she won huge. It's great.

TURNER: She did. I man, she had about a six-year cold streak in Hollywood and we had talked to her about that through award season. She said, listen, I don't think of this as a comeback because I really haven't gone anywhere. She is that girl. And I think that playing Judy Garland, and playing a woman who kind of struggled to fight her way back into Hollywood and to really keep herself relevant, I think it was a very personal situation for Renee. She looked beautiful, she gave a great speech. And hallelujah, Renee Zellweger is back and here to say.

BERMAN: On her terms.

TURNER: Indeed.

BERMAN: Nischelle Turner, great to see you this morning.

CAMEROTA: Great to see you as always.

TURNER: I'm sorry "Little Women" didn't do better, John. I know you loved it.

BERMAN: I really did. I really did.

TURNER: I know.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Nischelle.

New Hampshire voters headed to the polls in just hours. CNN has it all covered for you after this quick break.