Hoan Ton-That

Hoan Ton-That is an Australian serial entrepreneur, known for being the co-founder and CEO of Clearview AI, a facial recognition software.
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Early days

Hoan Ton-That is a self-taught engineer of Vietnamese origins. At the age of 19, Ton-That dropped out of college in his native Australia to try his hand at entrepreneurship in San Francisco, California in 2007.

His first endeavors were a resounding failure. He first tried to create a social network that would take advantage of the rising popularity of Apple's iPhone. In 2009, he created the HappyAppy and ViddyHo apps. The latter was a phishing application that sent spam to the user's contacts. This caused Ton-That to be hunted down by the police in the same year. He later created another similar phishing application. After these fiascos, Ton-That was part of AngelList.

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Career

Hoan Ton-That met Richard Schwartz at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in 2016. The two partnered in a company where Schwartz financed utility costs and basic expenses, while Ton-That hired two engineers to work on software that obtained images from internet sources to cross-reference with a facial recognition algorithm. The company worked confidentially at the end of 2017, at which time it was linked to far-right sympathizers.

Clearview AI received investment from Peter Thiel and Naval Ravikant of more than $ 200,000 that would later be converted into shares within the company. The company claims that its algorithm is free from bias and that it can accurately recognize any public image from the internet.

Ton-That assures that the company has the best intentions and that it does not sell the product to Iran, Russia, or China.

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Other facts

Clearview has received complaints from Google, YouTube, Venmo, and LinkedIn for taking images of these pages without permission. Australian authorities required the company to stop collecting photos of Australian citizens.
The Australian entrepreneur Hon Ton-That has defended himself by claiming that Clearview AI is used only as a tool to enforce the law, while he believes that there is nothing wrong with helping judicial authorities solve crimes with publicly available information.

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See also

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