Clearview AI agrees to stop selling access to its face images database

Clearview AI agrees to stop selling access to its face images database

by Pranali Mehta

New York-based facial recognition firm, Clearview AI, has reportedly agreed to restrict the usage of its large collection of face images to settle allegations of having collected people’s photos without permission.

In a legal filing, the firm agreed to stop selling access to its database to individuals or private businesses around the country and put a limit on its growing collection of billions of images taken from all over the internet, including social media.

The settlement is yet to be approved by a judge and will end the 2-year-old lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union along with other groups over alleged violations of digital privacy law in Illinois, the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Under the act, consumers can file a lawsuit against companies that have harvested data like fingerprints or faces without the consumer’s permission.

Clearview has also agreed to not make its database available to the state government and the police department of Illinois for five years.

However, its services will still be available to federal organizations as well as law enforcement agencies and other government contractors outside of Illinois.

One of the groups that had brought the lawsuit, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, raised concerns that photos that are posted on social media sites and turned into a faceprint by the startup can end up being used by ex-partners, stalkers, or even predatory businesses for tracking the person’s social activity and whereabouts.

Attorney Floyd Abrams, who was defending Clearview, said that the settlement does not require the startup to make any major change in its business model or conduct that it currently engages in.

The settlement document also stated that Clearview continues denying and disputing the claims brought by the plaintiffs.

Many regulators worldwide, such as from Italy, France, Canada, and Australia, have taken up measures for stopping Clearview pull people’s faces into its engine without their consent.

Hoan Ton-That, co-founder and CEO of Clearview, stated last month that the startup is working on launching a new ‘consent-based’ business product where a person’s face will be recognized but not added to its wide database.

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Pranali Mehta

A chemical engineer by qualification, Pranali Mehta dutifully walked down the slated path and worked in a chemical firm for a year. Her passion for writing however, pushed her into experimenting with the same as a career. With over three years of experience in content writ Read more...