Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition App Called Illegal in Canada

The country’s privacy commissioner said the Facial Recognition app Clearview AI is not welcome in Canada and the company developing it should remove the faces of Canadians from its database.

Commissioner Daniel Therrien said at a news conference, “What Clearview does is mass surveillance, and it is illegal.” He emphasized all the society of the company as “constantly placing it in the police lineup”. Although the Canadian government does not have the legal authority to enforce photo removal, the strongest position taken against a company by someone – was clear: “This is completely unacceptable.”

Clearview took more than three billion photos from social media networks and other public websites to create a facial recognition app, now used by more than 2,400 US law enforcement agencies, according to the company. When an officer runs a search, the app provides links to sites on the web where the person’s face has appeared. Scope of company outreach and law enforcement application First reported by the New York Times In January 2020.

Mr. Therrien, along with three regional privacy commissioners in Canada, launched an investigation a year ago at Clearview, after articles on the company were published. Privacy laws in Canada require obtaining the consent of people to use their personal data, giving the government a basis for inquiry. Authorities in Australia and the United Kingdom are jointly conducting their own investigations.

According to commissioners, including the National Royal Canadian Mounted Police, dozens of law enforcement agencies and organizations in Canada used the app. A Canadian law enforcement officer Told the Times It was the “biggest success in the last decade” for investigating child sexual abuse offenses last year. “Thousands of searches” were conducted, a commissioners report said, but only one agency was paying for the app, mainly because several groups used it through a free trial.

according to Commissioners Report, Clearview stated that it did not require consent from Canadians to use facial biometric information, as this information came from photographs that were on the public Internet. There is an exception in the privacy law for Publicly available information. The commission disagreed.

“Information taken from public websites, such as social media or professional profiles, and then used for an unrelated purpose, does not fall under the ‘publicly available’ exception,” according to Report. The commissioners objected to the images being used in such a way that the posters of the photographs were not intended and could “pose a risk of significant harm to those individuals.”

Clearview AI said it planned to challenge the determination in court. “Clear AI only collects public information from the Internet, which is expressly permitted,” said Clearview AI counsel Doug Mitchell in a statement. “Clearview AI is a search engine that collects public data, such as Google, which is allowed to operate in Canada, much larger companies do.”

The commissioners, who noted they did not have the power to fix or order companies, sent a clear “AI” letter asking them to stop offering their facial recognition services in Canada, to the faces of Canadians. To prevent scraping of, and to remove images already collected.

It is a difficult order: it is not possible to tell someone’s nationality or where they live with their face alone.

Cleave AI chief executive Hon Ton-ki said on Wednesday that due to the inquiry, the company had stopped operating in Canada last July, but had no plans to remove the Canadian from its database.

The company has previously taken pains to remove the face after running local privacy laws. Last year, Clearview’s lawsuit was filed in Illinois for violating the biometric information privacy act of that state, stating that companies must seek people’s consent before using their facial images. Clearview tried to remove the faces of Illinois residents, for example, by looking at photo metadata and geographic information. It also allows residents of the state Removal request By uploading your own photo via the “opt-out form”.

Mr. Ton-said that Clearview allows Canadians to exit the database in the same way.

Mr. Therrien was not satisfied with that solution. “You realize the irony of this measure, it requires individuals to provide more personal information about themselves,” he said.

Mr. Ton-said that he was eager to fight the search in court. “It’s a simple issue of public information and who has access to it and why,” he said. “We don’t want a world where it’s just Google and some other technology companies that are getting public information.”

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