Clearview AI Fined in Italy, Starts Scanning Dead Russian Soldiers in Ukraine

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Ever since the facial recognition company Clearview AI appeared from nowhere two years ago, it has remained at the leading edge of its field, not least in terms of ethics. As a recent PIA blog post reported, the company claims to be building a database holding 100 billion facial images, so that “almost everyone in the world will be identifiable“. That post also noted that Clearview AI is facing legal action from governments, particularly in the EU. The Italian data protection authority has just announced a fine and a ban:

The findings showed that the personal data held by the company, including biometric and geolocation information, were processed unlawfully without an appropriate legal basis — since the legitimate interest of the US-based company does not qualify as such. Additionally, the company infringed several fundamental principles of the GDPR including transparency — as it failed to adequately inform users —, purpose limitation — as it processed users’ data for purposes other than those for which they had been made available online —, and storage limitation — as it did not set out any data storage period. Thus, Clearview AI is violating data subjects’ freedoms including the protection of privacy and non-discrimination.

The Italian authority imposed a fine of 20 million euros on Clearview AI, and ordered the company to delete all the data that it held relating to individuals in Italy. It also banned any further collection and processing of similar data. Since Clearview AI says that it does not have

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