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Clearview AI must remove images of Britons illegally retrieved from social media

Facial recognition company Clearview AI has been told it must remove all images of people in the UK it has scraped from the internet and social media to create a global database that can be used for facial recognition . In addition to the order, which was issued by the UK data protection regulator, the company was fined £7.5 million ($9.4 million).

The company also did not collect any other publicly available data on UK citizens after it was found to breach UK data protection laws, the Privacy Commissioner’s Office said on Monday. information (ICO). The enforcement action taken by the ICO follows a joint company privacy investigation with Australian authorities, which was opened in July 2020.

Clearview AI provides a service that allows customers, including law enforcement, to upload a photo to its system and see if it matches any of the photos it has in its database – which is made up of photos from the web. The company has come under fire from regulators and digital rights activists who claimed it violated people’s right to privacy.

“Clearview AI Inc has collected multiple images of people around the world, including the UK, from various websites and social media platforms, creating a database of over 20 billion images,” said said Information Commissioner John Edwards in a statement. “The company not only identifies these people, but effectively monitors their behavior and offers it as a commercial service. This is unacceptable.”

Edwards also noted that international cooperation was crucial to protecting people’s privacy and said he was meeting with EU officials in Brussels next week. Meanwhile, in the US, Clearview AI agreed to stop selling facial recognition data to private companies and individuals earlier this month as part of a deal with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ICO’s decision was welcomed by privacy campaigners, although Silkie Carlo, director of advocacy group Big Brother Watch, noted it could be difficult to enforce, calling the Parliament to ban excessive facial surveillance. “Clearview AI accumulated multiple photos of each of us from the internet and made them available to the highest bidder,” she said in a statement. “Using facial recognition on billions of photos will end anonymity as we know it.”

Clearview AI did not immediately respond to request for comment.


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