Clearview AI Fined, Ordered to Delete Data of UK Residents

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · May 23, 2022

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The company is notorious for scraping and selling images of unconsenting people from around the world.

“That is Unacceptable”

Facial recognition firm Clearview AI has been slammed with a £7.5 million fine by the United Kingdom’s privacy regulator. 

The company is accused of failing to comply with the UK’s data protection regulations. It has also been ordered to delete all of its data belonging to residents in the country.

“The company not only enables identification of those people, but effectively monitors their behavior and offers it as a commercial service,” said the UK’s Information Commissioner John Edwards. “That is unacceptable.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) says that Clearview AI has collected over 20 billion images of faces globally. It uses these images to create an online facial recognition database.

The American company uses artificial intelligence to collect images from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. It markets its “revolutionary” software to law enforcement, universities, companies, and individuals. It claims to provide its clients with a means to harness AI in cybersecurity, as well as other areas. 

However, the company agreed to limit the sales of images from its extensive database in the United States, following a legal dispute with the ACLU.

The ICO says that Clearview AI’s database is likely to contain “a substantial amount of data from UK residents” collected without their permission.

“Although Clearview AI no longer offers its services to UK organizations, the company has customers in other countries, so the company is still using personal data of UK residents,” it said in a statement. 

The watchdog’s verdict is the result of a joint investigation with Australia’s privacy regulator.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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