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A Potential £17m Over Data Privacy To Be Slapped On Australian Facial Recognition Company

A Potential £17m Over Data Privacy To Be Slapped On Australian Facial Recognition Company
Australian firm that claims to possess a database that includes over 10 billion face pictures is likely to face a £17 million fine for the handling of personal information across the UK.
The Information Commissioner's Office of the United Kingdom said it was concerned regarding Clearview AI, whose facial recognition software is employed for police purposes.
It has instructed the company to cease processing UK personal information and to erase any personal data it holds.
Clearview claimed that the claims of the regulator are "factually and legally incorrect".
The company is being asked to make appeals - stated that it was looking into the possibility of appealing and "further action".
It has been determined to be in violation of Australian privacy laws, but the government seeks a review of the decision.
Clearview AI's software allows the user - for instance an officer from the police looking to find a suspect to upload a photograph of a face , and then search for matches in the collection of millions of photos that it has taken through the internet and social media.
The system will then provide links to websites where the images have appeared on the internet.
The company has promoted its police service as like the "Google search for faces".
In a statement, the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner said that Clearview's database is likely to contain "a substantial number of people from the UK" who's data could have been collected without the knowledge of individuals.
The company's services are thought to have been tested by various UK police departments however, the trial was subsequently ended as well. Clearview AI does not have any UK customers.
The ICO declared that the "preliminary view" was that the company had not complied with UK regulations on protection of personal data in the following ways:
In addition, they have failed to inform citizens who live in UK about the changes to their personal data.
The UK Information Commissioner of the UK, Elizabeth Denham, said: "I am concerned about the way in which personal data was handled in a manner that nobody in the UK would have expected.
"UK data protection legislation does not stop the effective use of technology to fight crime. But to enjoy public trust and confidence in their products, technology providers must ensure people's legal protections are respected and complied with."
The decision is not final and the ICO stated that any representations made from Clearview AI will be carefully examined before a final decision is announced at the beginning of next year.
Hoan Ton-That the chief executive for Clearview AI, said: "I am extremely disappointed that Clearview AI's chief executive Hoan Ton-That is deeply dismayed that UK Information Commissioner confused my technology and my intentions.
"My company and I have acted in the best interests of the UK and their people by assisting law enforcement in solving heinous crimes against children, seniors, and other victims of unscrupulous acts.... We collect only public data from the open internet and comply with all standards of privacy and law."
There are indications that large tech companies are becoming more cautious about face recognition.
In the month of November Facebook made it clear that they will no longer employ facial recognition software to recognize faces in videos and photos.
However, online tools, as well as search engines using facial recognition technology, continue to function privacy advocates warn.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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