Clearview AI has been ordered to remove facial recognition data from UK residents

Clearview AI has been ordered to remove facial recognition data from UK residents

The Information Commissioner’s Office, the country’s privacy watchdog, has ordered controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI to remove all data belonging to UK individuals (ICO). Clearview was also fined £7.5 million ($9.4 million) by the ICO for failing to comply with UK data privacy regulations.

Clearview has been compelled to remove national data in this manner for the fourth time, following similar judgments and fines made in Australia, France, and Italy.

Clearview claims to have a facial recognition database with 20 billion photographs taken from public sources such as Facebook and Instagram. It formerly sold its software to a wide range of private users and corporations but recently decided to limit its sales in the United States to government agencies and police departments in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Clearview AI’s services have previously been employed by law enforcement customers such as the Metropolitan Police, Ministry of Defence, and National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom. According to the ICO, the company “no longer offers its services to UK organizations,” although the data scraped from UK citizens can still be utilized by customers in other nations.

Clearview violated several tenets of UK data protection law, according to the ICO, including failing to use data in a “fair and transparent” manner (given that residents’ images were scraped without their knowledge or consent), “failing to have a lawful reason for collecting people’s information,” and “failing to have a process in place to stop the data being retained indefinitely.”

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However, while the ICO has fined Clearview and ordered the company to remove UK data, it is unclear how this would be implemented given that Clearview has no business or clients in the nation to penalize. In response to a similar deletion order and penalties issued earlier this year in Italy under EU law, Clearview’s CEO Hoan Ton-That stated that the US-based corporation was simply not subject to EU regulations.

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