Face recognition company, Clearview AI, has been ordered to destroy any data belonging to UK citizens by the country’s privacy regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office.
The office announced Monday that a $9.4 million fine has been levied against Clearview for breaking the country’s data protection rules, and the company has been ordered to cease any data collection from UK citizens, the company said. Following orders from Australia, France, and Italy in recent months, this is the fourth time the firm has been forced to erase the data of all of a country’s people.
It was concluded in November that Clearview AI had violated data protection rules, leading to the issuance of the enforcement notice and imposition of the penalties. According to the report, the corporation did not utilize the data it obtained in a “fair and transparent manner,” collected it without a legitimate reason, and did not fulfill the data protection criteria necessary for biometric information.
NEW: We’ve fined Clearview AI Inc more than £7.5m for using images of people in the UK, and elsewhere, that were collected from the web and social media to create a global online database that could be used for facial recognition.
Read our press release: https://t.co/VCnmjjcM8D pic.twitter.com/88mO1mUjmq
— ICO – Information Commissioner’s Office (@ICOnews) May 23, 2022
“People expect that their personal information will be protected, regardless of where in the globe their data is being used,” John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, said in a statement. It’s for this reason that multinational corporations require worldwide regulation.
Also recently, the controversial corporation ran into hot water in the United States, when it reached a deal with the ACLU restricting the sale of its database of faceprints to most private companies. Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act bans firms from obtaining and utilizing “biometric identifiers,” such as faceprints and fingerprints, without the authorization of Illinois individuals. The organization contended that the company had violated this legislation.
Clearview has also been fined by regulators in France, Italy, and Australia.
The ICO’s enforcement action comes after a joint investigation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
More than 20 billion images are supposedly stored in Clearview’s database. A story published by The Register last year indicated that the company’s database had been accessed by law enforcement, including the Metropolitan Police, the Ministry of Defense, and the National Crime Agency.
In a statement, Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI, said he was upset that the ICO “misunderstood” his technology and goals.
“I created the world-renowned facial recognition technology,” he explained. “By supporting law enforcement in investigating horrible crimes against children, the elderly, and other victims of unethical activities, my firm and I have worked in the best interests of the UK and its people,” he added.
“We acquire only public data from the open internet and adhere to all privacy and legal regulations,” he continued. I am dismayed by society’s misconception of Clearview AI’s technology. He would want to meet with leaders and politicians so that the full benefit of this technology, which has proved so crucial in law enforcement, can continue making communities safe.