Clearview AI faces £17 million fine for facial recognition breach
Clearview AI, who names itself “the world’s largest facial network”, owns a database filled with billions of images from the internet and helps clients such as law enforcement agencies to compare facial data against its database.
However, according to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Clearview AI’s database is “likely to include the data of a substantial number of people from the UK”. It is believed that images could have been gathered without people’s knowledge from places such as social media platforms. Clearview’s technology had also been used “on a free trial basis” by various UK law enforcement agencies before being discontinued.
The UK information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said that Clearview AI has collected personal data in a way that “nobody will have expected” and that this potential breach needs to be brought to light.
“UK data protection legislation does not stop the effective use of technology to fight crime. But to enjoy public trust and confidence in their products, technology providers must ensure people’s legal protections are respected and complied with.”
The ICO has announced its provisional intent to impose a potential fine surpassing £17 million.
The reasons it cites for this are: failing to give lawful reason to continue to collect data, not meeting the higher data protections standards of GDPR rules in the UK, and finally failing to be transparent to the public about its data collection practices.
Clearview has since called the ICO’s statement “factually and legally incorrect.” Chief executive of Clearview AI, Hoan Ton-That, said that he was “deeply disappointed” that the ICO had “misinterpreted” the company’s intentions and technology.
He added that his company only collects public data on the internet and complies with “all standards” of privacy and law.
“My company and I have acted in the best interested of the UK and their people by assisting law enforcement in solving heinous crimes against children, seniors and other victims of unscrupulous acts.”
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