The United Kingdom is the fourth territory to sanction in this way the company specializing in facial recognition, accused of illegally collecting millions of personal data.
The American company specializing in facial recognition technologies Clearview AI has been fined 7.5 million pounds sterling (8.85 million euros) in the United Kingdom and will have to delete the personal data of British residents, have announced this Monday, May 23, the British authorities.
The fine punishes the illicit use of images of people collected on the internet and social networks to create a global database that could be used for facial recognition.
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), the UK data protection authority, has also ordered the company to stop collecting and using the personal data of UK residents publicly available on the internet and to delete those that she has already collected.
20 billion snapshots
According to the authority, the company harvested online over 20 billion face shots anywhere in the world to create a database, without information or consent as to their use or collection.
The company offers its customers, including the police, a service to find online images of a person after entering a photo, says the ICO.
“Although Clearview AI no longer offers its services to organizations in the UK, the company has customers in other countries”, so it “continues to use the personal data of UK residents”, underlined the ICO in a press release.
“Not only does the company allow the identification” of people whose photo it has collected, “but actually monitors their behavior and offers it as a commercial service”, denounced John Edwards, the British Information Commissioner.
His investigation having been carried out in collaboration with the Australian authorities, he stressed that “international cooperation is essential to protect the right to privacy in 2022”, announcing a meeting this week with European regulators in Brussels.
Several proceedings in progress
Contacted by AFP, Clearview AI did not respond immediately. The company recently agreed to no longer sell its biometric databases to companies in the United States.
Several proceedings have been initiated against her in European countries. The Italian Personal Data Protection Authority fined him 20 million euros last March for having introduced “biometric surveillance of people on Italian territory”.
The Italian Authority had also specified that it had “ordered the company to erase the data relating to persons located in Italy”.
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Facial recognition: Clearview AI must delete all its data on Britons
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