After the United States, it is the turn of the United Kingdom to sanction Clearview AI. The American company, specializing in facial recognition, was fined Monday, May 23, 7.5 million pounds sterling (about 8.85 million euros).
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the British equivalent of the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL), accuses the company of having collected without their consent on the Web and social networks the faces of million Britons. More specifically, the courts found that Clearview AI was not using its database in a way “fair and transparent”, because “Individuals are not informed or do not expect that their personal data will be used in this way”.
The ICO ruled that the company had no “for legitimate reasons” to collect this information. In addition to the fine, it requires the American firm to stop “collect and use personal data” and that she “removes data of UK residents from its systems”.
Contacted by online media The VergeClearview AI clarified that, in its view, “the decision to impose a fine is incorrect”because the firm “has no UK market” and as such is not subject to the jurisdiction of the ICO.
A collection deemed illegal
Clearview AI has a database of more than 20 billion snapshots, created by scanning images published on the Internet around the world, for example on Twitter or Instagram. And it is precisely this point that he is accused of today.
“Given the number of Britons who use social media, the Clearview database may contain a significant amount of data on UK residents, which has been collected without their knowledge”, explains the ICO. In addition to the collection, deemed illegal, the goodwill of Clearview AI is also pointed. “The company not only allows people to be identified, but also monitors their behavior and offers it as a commercial service. This is unacceptable “, reacted John Edwards, Information Commissioner of the United Kingdom.
Clearview AI had made a name for itself by offering facial recognition services to individuals, but also to the police. Using its gigantic database, the firm makes it possible to compare faces and thus identify people from a simple snapshot.
If the company highlights its contribution to public security, for example by having allowed the FBI to capture an Argentine child criminal in 2020, the process itself questions many states and associations. On May 9, the American Civil Liberties Union succeeded, after two years of legal battle, in forcing the company to no longer sell its database to private actors in the State of Illinois. Italy and Australia are now fighting a battle similar to that of the UK. In France, the CNIL has, since December 2021, given Clearview AI formal notice to delete the data collected in France and to cease its activities in the territory.
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