ICO fines Clearview AI £7.5 million

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Clearview AI more than 7.5 million pounds, the equivalent of more than 8.9 million euros. The American company has collected photos of British men and women without explicit permission, which is prohibited under British privacy law. In addition to a million-dollar fine, the company must also remove all images from its database.

That writes the British regulator in a press release.

This is how Clearview AI works

The fine follows a joint investigation with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), the Australian counterpart of ICO. The research focused on scraping the internet to collect profile pictures and biometric data for facial recognition. Scraping is the automatic collection of information from public sources on the Internet.

According to the British privacy watchdog, Clearview AI has stored more than 20 billion profile photos of people in its database. The owners of these images were never notified that their photos were collected to build an immense database.

Investigators can upload a photo of a suspect and then use the database search function to get a name to match the picture. More than 2,400 agencies in the US use this service. The Dutch police have never used Clearview’s facial recognition technology, the then Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker wrote in a letter to the House of Representatives.

Data collected without knowledge

“Given the large number of internet and social media users in the UK, Clearview AI Inc. likely contains a significant amount of data from residents of the United Kingdom, which was collected

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