Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Clearview AI In Another Legal Row With UK Regulator, Seeks To Expand Sales

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Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition tool, has been fined £7.5 million ($9.4 million) by a U.K. privacy regulator. The New York-based company has been fined several times by different countries in Europe including France and Italy. 

In the last few years, the company has collected images from the web and social media of individuals in Britain and elsewhere to create a global online database that can be used by law enforcement to identify individuals.

Announcing on Monday, The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined the company on grounds of 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.

“Clearview AI Inc has collected multiple images of people all over the world, including in the UK, from a variety of websites and social media platforms, creating a database with more than 20 billion images,” said John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner adding, “The company not only enables identification of those people, but effectively monitors their behavior and offers it as a commercial service. That is unacceptable. That is why we have acted to protect people in the UK by both fining the company and issuing an enforcement notice.”

Expressing his disappointment with ICO’s decision, Clearview AI’s CEO Hoan Ton-That said his technology and intentions are misinterpreted by the UK regulators adding, “my company and I have acted in the best interests of the UK and their people by assisting law enforcement in solving heinous crimes against children, seniors, and other victims of unscrupulous acts.”

Additionally, Clearview AI is expanding its customer base beyond companies serving the police by selling its facial recognition software to companies in the private sector, prompting scrutiny over how the company capitalizes on billions of photos scraped from social media. The company told Reuters.

In March, Clearview started offering support to Ukraine by having the war-torn country use its AI-powered tool for free. Ton-That added that the startup’s database can help Ukraine identify the dead more easily than trying to match fingerprints and works even if there is facial damage.

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Michael Peres
Michael Pereshttps://michaelperes.com
Michael Peres is a journalist, software engineer, radio host, founder, and traveler. Peres is the editor and chief at Peres Daily News and covers topics relating to entrepreneurship, politics, entertainment, and daily events. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington.

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