U.S.-based company Clearview A.I. was fined for illegally collecting images of Brits' faces

Clearview A.I. was fined for illegally collecting images of Brits' faces

May 24, 2022: -Clearview A.I., a New York-headquartered facial recognition company, has been fined £7.5 million by a U.K. privacy regulator.

In the previous years, the firm has collected images from the web and social media of people in Britain and anywhere to create a global online database that can be used by law enforcement for facial recognition.

The Information Commission’s Office said that the company had breached U.K. data protection laws on Monday.

The ICO ordered Clearview to delete data on U.K. residents and banned it from collecting any more.

Clearview writes on its website that it has collected over 20 billion facial images of people worldwide. It is collected publicly posted images from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and news media, mugshot websites, and different open sources. It does so without informing the individuals or questioning their consent.

The platform of Clearview allows law enforcement agencies to upload a photo of an individual and match it to pictures is storing in the database of Clearview.

John Edwards, the information commissioner of the U.K, said,  “The company enables identification of those people and effectively monitors their behavior and presents it as a commercial service. That is unacceptable.”

He further said that people expect their personal information to be respected, regardless of where their data is used.

Regulators have also fined Clearview in France, Italy, and Australia.

The ICO enforcement action comes following a joint investigation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Clearview does not publish its client names, but BuzzFeed News reported that it had collaborated with 2,200 law enforcement agencies, companies, and individuals for the whole world. Macy’s, Walmart, Bank of America, and Target used the service.

In May 2020, Clearview said that it would stop working with non–law enforcement entities and private companies between regulatory scrutiny and potential lawsuits.

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