Clearview AI settles lawsuit and agrees to facial recognition database limitations

Clearview AI, the maker of facial recognition software, on Monday settled a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and ag...


Clearview AI, the maker of facial recognition software, on Monday settled a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and agreed to limit its database of faces in the United States mainly to government agencies and not to authorize most American companies to have access to it.

As part of the settlement, which was filed in an Illinois state court, Clearview will not sell its database of what it says is more than 20 billion facial photos to most individuals and businesses in the country. But the company can still largely sell this database to federal and state agencies.

The agreement is the latest blow to the New York start-up, which built its facial recognition software by scraping photos from the web and popular sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Clearview then sold its software to local police departments and government agencies, including the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

But its technology has been deemed illegal in Canada, Australia and parts of Europe for violating privacy laws. Clearview also faces a provisional fine of 22.6 million dollars in Great Britainas well as a fine of 20 million euros from the Italian data protection agency.

“Clearview can no longer treat people’s unique biometric identifiers as an unlimited source of profit,” Nathan Freed Wessler, deputy director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said in a statement about the settlement. “Other companies would do well to take note, and other states should follow Illinois’ lead by enacting strong biometric privacy laws.”

Floyd Abrams, a First Amendment expert hired by Clearview to defend the company’s right to collect publicly available information and make it searchable, said the company is “happy to put this litigation behind it.”

“To avoid a protracted, costly, and distracting legal dispute with the ACLU and others, Clearview AI has agreed to continue not providing its services to Illinois law enforcement for a period of time,” a- he declared.

ACLU filed his complaint in May 2020 on behalf of groups representing victims of domestic violence, undocumented immigrants and sex workers. The group accused Clearview of violating Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, a state law that prohibits private entities from using citizens’ body IDs, including algorithmic maps of their faces. , without their consent.

“This is a huge victory for the most vulnerable people in Illinois,” said Linda Xóchitl Tortolero, a plaintiff in the case and head of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, an advocacy group for survivors of sexual assault. and domestic violence. “For many Latinas, many of whom are undocumented and have low levels of computer or social media literacy, not understanding how technology can be used against you is a huge challenge.”

One of Clearview’s selling methods was to offer free trials to potential customers, including private companies, civil servants and police. As part of the settlement, the company will have a more formal process around trial accounts, ensuring that every police officer has permission from their employer to use the facial recognition app.

Clearview is also prohibited from selling to any Illinois-based entity, private or public, for five years under the agreement. After that, he can resume business dealings with local or state law enforcement, Wessler said.

In one key exception, Clearview will still be able to provide its database to US banks and financial institutions under an exclusion from Illinois law. Hoan Ton-That, chief executive of Clearview AI, said the company “has no plans to ‘provide the database’ to entities other than government agencies at this time.”

The settlement does not mean that Clearview cannot sell any products to companies. It will still be able to sell its facial recognition algorithm, without the 20 billion image database, to companies. Its algorithm can match people’s faces to any database provided by a client.

“There are a number of other consent-based uses for Clearview’s technology that the company has the ability to market more widely,” Ton-That said.

As part of the settlement, Clearview admitted no liability and agreed to pay plaintiffs $250,000 in attorneys’ fees. The settlement is subject to the approval of an Illinois State judge.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Clearview AI settles lawsuit and agrees to facial recognition database limitations
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