The walls are closing in on Clearview AI

The walls are closing in on Clearview AI thumbnail

The ICO found Clearview AI to be in breach of data protection laws. Clearview AI collected personal data without people’s consent and asked for additional information such as photos when people asked if their data was in the database. Clearview AI was found to have “acted as disincentive” for those who objected that their data be scraped.

The company allows identification of these people and effectively monitors their behavior. It also offers it as a service. It is unacceptable,” stated in a statement. John Edwards, the UK information commissioner, said that.

Clearview AI boasts one of the world’s largest databases of people’s faces, with 20 billion images that it has scraped off the internet from publicly available sources, such as social media, without their consent. Clients such police agencies pay to access the database to search for matches.

Data protection authorities from around the world have found this to violate privacy and are now working together to crack down. Edwards stressed that “international cooperation is essential to protect people’s privacy rights in 2022” and is due to meet with European regulators in Brussels this week. Clearview AI was investigated jointly by the UK and the Australian information commissioner.

Earlier this year, Italian data protection authorities fined Clearview AI EUR20 million ($21 million) for breaching data protection rules. Similar conclusions have been reached by authorities in Australia, Canada and France. Clearview AI is under increasing scrutiny even though the US does not have a federal law protecting data. Clearview AI was banned from selling its database to any US businesses earlier this month after the ACLU won a major Settlement . Clearview AI is prohibited from selling access to its database in the state of Illinois because it violates Illinois’ law on biometric data.

According to Silkie Carlo, who is the director of UK-based digital rights group Big Brother Watch, the ICO’s decision “effectively stops Clearview from operating in the UK,” she said on Twitter.

Carlo said that the decision “should put a nail in their coffin for facial recognition”, and asked for UK lawmakers to ban facial-recognition surveillance.

Europe is working on an AI law that could ban the use of “real-time” remote biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition, in public places. The current text does not allow law enforcement to use facial recognition to combat serious crimes such as terrorist attacks or kidnappings.

There is a possibility that EU will go further. The influential data security watchdogs called for the bill to ban remote biometric identification in public. They also called for the banning of police use of web-scraped database, such as Clearview AI’s. Clearview AI is rapidly becoming so toxic that neither credible law enforcement agency nor public authority or any other company will want them to work with,” Ella Jakubowska, who works in facial recognition and biometrics at European Digital Rights, a digital rights organization, said. Clearview AI CEO, Hoan Ton-That, stated that he was disappointed by the ICO’s “misinterpretation of my technology and intentions.”

” “We collect only open internet data and comply with all privacy standards,” he stated in a statement sent to MIT Technology Review.

“I would welcome the chance to engage in conversation with leaders, lawmakers so that the true value this technology has proven so important to law enforcement can be continued to make communities safer,” he said.

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