Clearview AI Agrees to Restrict Sales of Facial Recognition Database to Private Companies

Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition platform has settled a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The company has agreed to not sell its facial recognition database in the United State to private companies in the country. As things stand, only government agencies will be able to access the platform’s pool of data. 

The settlement, which was filed with an Illinois state court states that Clearview will not monetize its database that contains more than 20 billion facial photos to private businesses and companies in the U.S. Having said that, Clearview can sell its database to state and federal agencies. 

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Clearview’s woes continue

A.C.L.U. filed a lawsuit against Clearview in May 2020 on behalf of different cohorts of people including sex workers, undocumented immigrants, and more. These groups have accused Clearview of breaching the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. The state law restricts private firms from using a citizen’s algorithmic maps of faces and bodily identifiers without consent. 

The agreement carves a fresh wound to the U.S.-based startup, which has essentially built a facial registration system by picking up images from leading social media sites including LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. Typically, Clearview has sold its solution to government agencies and local police departments, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the F.B.I. 

However, the company’s revolutionary technology is illegal in other countries including Australia, Canada, and some parts of Europe for breaching the privacy laws. In addition, Clearview is also starting at a provisional $22.6 million fine in the U.K. and a 20 million euro fine in Italy from the country’s data protection agency. 

Lawmakers vs Clearview 

Nathan Freed Wessler, Deputy Director of A.C.L.U’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project said that Clearview cannot make profits using the public’s unique biometric identification. He has also urged other states to replicate the actions taken by Illinois to safeguard biometric privacy laws. 

Floyd Adams, a First Amendment attorney hired by Clearview has stood has defended the firm’s right to collect publicly available information and make it searchable. One sales technique that the company has deployed until now is providing free trials to potential clients. The clientele includes government employees, police offers, and private businesses. 

The new settlement changes everything as Clearview will now have to adhere to a more formal process around trial accounts. Under the new settlement, individual police officers are required to take permission from the police department to use the facial recognition technology. 

There is some respite for the company. The new settlement does not mean that the company cannot sell any product to business entities. Clearview can sell its facial recognition algorithm minus the 20 billion images to private firms. 

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Karandeep V

Karandeep V

Karandeep was born in Pune, Maharashtra, an upcoming metropolitan city in the Western region of India. While most members of his family are engineers, he had different ideas. He was more inclined toward exploring the non-technical aspects of a business, which is why he studied Bachelors of Business Administration at Symbiosis International University, Pune.  Having said that, his love for new and upcoming technologies remained intact, which is why he has written extensively about technology throughout his career. After a brief stint with a gaming company at the beginning of his career, he discovered that his love for writing was not temporary.  Being a tech geek, he always liked installing and playing around with new applications on his mobile devices and the home desktop. He was fascinated by how technology can simplify even the most mundane and complex tasks with just a few commands. He keeps a close eye on how businesses use different tools to streamline their operations to boost productivity and efficiency. At ToolsMetric, he writes product reviews that cover the main features and specifications of different enterprise applications. The sheer amount of innovation and hard work that goes into building these tech solutions is one of the reasons why Karandeep loves reviewing these tools. Besides product reviews, he also writes interesting news articles and blogs that track the latest developments in the tech industry.  When he is not writing, you can find him rooted to his seat playing video games, watching movies, or supporting his favorite football team. Since his childhood, he has always loved to travel and explore new places. Traveling is a major part of his life due to a myriad of reasons such as experiencing new cultures, food, and traditions. His other hobbies include playing football, cooking, and running.  You can find him on LinkedIn here.

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