The Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali (GPDP) has fined Clearview AI €20 million. The privacy watchdog rules that the American tech company has unlawfully collected biometric data from Italian citizens. In addition, the company must destroy all collected data and can no longer collect data from Italians with its facial recognition technology.
The Italian regulator reports this in a press statement.
Clearview has a controversial working method
Clearview AI is an American technology company that specializes in facial recognition. Using scraping software, the company automatically collects profile photos with associated information, such as names, dates of birth, and places of residence. All these faces and information end up in a facial recognition database. Experts say this database contains more than ten billion facial profiles.
The technology and working method of Clearview AI is quite controversial. Regulators and privacy organizations from France, Italy, Greece, Austria, and the United Kingdom filed a complaint against the company last year for privacy violations. The American tech company had not explicitly asked for permission to include facial profiles in a database. There was also no legal basis for this. Finally, people could not appeal to have their faces removed from the database.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) fined Clearview AI at the end of last year £17 million for violating UK privacy rules. Around the same time, the Commission Nationale de l’ Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) asked to stop collecting and processing photos of French citizens. The French regulator also ordered that all photos of French men and women be removed within two months. Regulators from