Canadian authorities declare Clearview facial recognition illegal

Canadian authorities declare Clearview facial recognition illegal

The Clearance AI Biometric Facial Recognition Service is illegal in Canada. The data protection authority of the monarchy has determined. New York company Clearview AI has collected more than three billion face photos on the Internet and trained a face recognition algorithm on them, which is now isolated. However, the company did not even try to get the consent of the affected people.

“Most of these people have never been involved in a crime and will never be clear. What is clear is collective surveillance, and it is illegal.” Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said Last week, “It is an insult to the privacy rights of individuals and is causing widespread harm to all members of society who find themselves in an uninterrupted police confrontation. This is completely unacceptable.”

Together with data protection officials from the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, Therrien’s agency investigated the case. According to final report Clearview AI has violated Canadian federal law three times:

  1. Clearview AI has collected and processed personal data without obtaining the consent of data subjects;
  2. Clear AI has collected, processed and disclosed personal data to third parties for improper purposes; And
  3. Clearview AI has failed to build biometric asset databases and report measurement results to Canadian authorities.
  4. In addition, Cleview AI has failed to obtain biometric consent specifically provided under Quebec law.

View from the Peace Tower of the Parliament of Canada in the Ottawa River in Ottawa, from the Ottawa River to Jatinue, Quebec. The Canadian Federal Data Protection Authority (Privacy Commissioner) is located in the skyscraper on the left.

(Pic: Daniel AJ Sokolov)

Because the purpose of data processing is unattainable, Clearview AI is not allowed to implement its business model even with the consent of data subjects. Even indiscriminate collection of images by scrapping public websites is unacceptable. In addition, officers are skeptical about the efficiency and accuracy of facial recognition in general, and interviews in particular. Incorrect facial recognition can have disastrous consequences for those affected. The database can also be hacked, leaving all data open to third parties.

As part of the investigation, the four officials called for the withdrawal of their facial recognition service in Canada, collecting and processing images and facial biometric data related to people in Canada, and removing such data. Clearview halted its offer during the investigation, but did not remove the Canadian data.

The company denies both risks for those affected by incorrect results or database hacking, as well as harming all individuals recorded. Clearview is asking Canadian data security officials to develop guidelines within two years so that the service can be operated legally.

In addition, the US company tried to thread a horse trade: If Canadian officials keep their investigation reports secret, Clearview will try to take steps to restrict photo collection and distribution – but only those images For those who identify it as “Canadian”, and only on the basis of efforts, without legal compulsion and without recognition of legal infringement. Canadians did not react to this and published the report last week.

This indicates that Clearview is not conscious of any guilt. Canadian officials are not responsible at all and the law is ineffective because Cliveau is not in “Canada” or Quebec. In addition, all photos are public. Furthermore, it is irrelevant that people have put their photos online for completely different purposes. And in general, facial recognition service is a service for the benefit of society.

The officials could not gain anything from these arguments. They also state that Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube have already covered the company with injunctions. From the point of view of these data groups, ClearView’s photo collection violates the terms of use of the respective online offers.

With the publication of the investigation report, four Canadian data protection authorities are calling on Clearview AI to collect, process and disseminate images related to people in Canada and to remove such data. In addition, Clearview AI should not offer its facial recognition service in Canada. In the event of a refusal, the data security authorities threatened the company with further legal steps to enforce the status of compliance.


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