Your Face Belongs to Us: An Exploration of Ethics and Technology with New York Times Reporter Kashmir Hill, 10/18

The David F. and Constance B. Girard-diCarlo Center for Ethics, Integrity and Compliance welcomes


Kashmir Hill
New York Times Reporter 


Wednesday, October 18
12:30–1:30 p.m.

Laurence E. Hirsch '71 Classroom (Room 101)
John F. Scarpa Hall

Co-sponsored by Villanova Women in Tech and the Ethics & Empirics of Engineering Humanity Speaker Series


The Girard-diCarlo Center will host a discussion on ethics and technology with Kashmir Hill, author and New York Times reporter. Hill writes about the unexpected and sometimes ominous ways technology is changing our lives, particularly regarding our privacy. This event is co-sponsored by Villanova Women in Tech and the Ethics & Empirics of Engineering Humanity Speaker Series. Lunch will be provided following the lecture. Quantities limited. No registration is necessary.

Hill joined The Times in 2019 after working at Gizmodo Media Group, Fusion, Forbes Magazine and Above the Law. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker and The Washington Post. She has degrees from Duke University and New York University, where she studied journalism.

This event may qualify as a Professional Engagement Activity for the purposes of Professional Development II and Professional Development III if attendance at this event advances your goals and contributes to the development of your professional identity as outlined in the syllabus for Professional Development.


New York Times tech reporter Kashmir Hill was skeptical when she got a tip about a mysterious app called Clearview AI that claimed it could, with 99 percent accuracy, identify anyone based on just one snapshot of their face. The app can scan a face and, in just seconds, surface every detail of a person’s online life: your name, social media profiles, your friends and family, even your home address (as well as photos of you that you may not even have known existed). YOUR FACE BELONGS TO US: A Secretive Startup’s Quest to End Privacy as We Know It (Random House; On Sale: 9/19/23) opens up a window into a larger, more urgent one about our tortured relationship to technology, the way it entertains and seduces us even as it steals our privacy and lays us bare to bad actors in politics, criminal justice, and tech.

In this riveting account, Hill tracks the improbable rise of Clearview AI, helmed by Hoan Ton-That, an Australian computer engineer, and Richard Schwartz, a former Rudy Giuliani advisor, and its astounding collection of billions of faces from the internet. The company was boosted by a cast of controversial characters, including billionaire Donald Trump backer Peter Thiel and conservative provocateur Charles C. Johnson—who all seemed eager to release this society-altering technology on the public. Google and Facebook decided that a tool to identify strangers was too radical to release, but Clearview forged ahead, sharing the app with private investors, pitching it to businesses, and offering it to thousands of law enforcement agencies around the world.

Facial recognition technology has been quietly growing more powerful for decades. This technology has already been used in wrongful arrests in the United States. Unregulated, it could expand the reach of policing, as it has in China and Russia, to a terrifying, dystopian level.

Your Face Belongs to Us is a gripping true story about the rise of a technological superpower that has been long-feared by the civil liberties community and long-desired by governments and authoritarian regimes. And it is a powerful warning that in the absence of vigilance and government regulation, this kind of technology will fundamentally change our ability to be anonymous.

Scarpa Girard-diCarlo samples