Clearview AI, the maker of facial recognition software, on Monday settled a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, seeking to limit its facial database in the United States to primarily government agencies and more. It agreed not to allow US companies to access it.
Under the ruling, which was filed in a state court in Illinois, Clareview will not sell its database, which it says has more than 20 billion facial images of most private individuals and businesses in the country. Institutions are. But the company could still sell the database to federal and state agencies on a large scale.
The deal is the latest blow to a New York-based startup that has developed its own facial recognition software by scraping photos from the web and popular sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Claire View then sold its software to local police departments and government agencies, including the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
But its technology has been outlawed in Canada, Australia and parts of Europe for violating privacy laws. Claire View is facing a 22.6 million temporary fine in the UK, as well as a 20 20 million fine from Italy’s Data Protection Agency.
“Clearview can no longer regard people’s unique biometric identifiers as an unlimited source of profit,” said Nathan Fred Wessler, ACLU’s Deputy Director of Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, in a statement regarding the settlement. “Other companies will act wisely, and other states should follow Illinois’ leadership in enforcing strong biometric privacy laws.”
Floyd Abrams hired a First Amendment expert to defend the company’s right to collect and find publicly available information from Clearview, saying the company was “suing” it. Was happy to leave behind. “
“To avoid a long, costly and stressful legal dispute with ACLU and others, Clearview AI has agreed not to provide its services to law enforcement agencies in Illinois for a period of time,” he said.
The ACLU filed its lawsuit in May 2020 on behalf of victims of domestic violence, undocumented immigrants and groups representing sex workers. The group accused Clareview of violating Illinois ‘Biometric Information Privacy Act, a state law that prohibits private entities from using citizens’ physical identifiers, including algorithmic maps of their faces, without their consent. does.
“This is a huge victory for the most vulnerable people in Illinois,” said Linda Xóchitl Tortolero, plaintiff in the case and head of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, an advocacy group for survivors of rape and domestic violence. Is. “For a lot of Latinos, a lot of people who are undocumented and have a low level of IT or social media literacy don’t understand how technology can be used against you, that’s a big deal. It’s a challenge. “
One of Clearview’s sales methods was to offer free trials to potential customers, including private businesses, government employees and police officers. Under the settlement, the company will have a more formal process around trial accounts, ensuring that individual police officers are allowed to use the face recognition app from their employers.
Clearview is also prohibited from selling to any private or public entity based in Illinois for five years as part of the agreement. Mr Wessler said that after that, it could resume business with local or state law enforcement agencies in the state.
With key exceptions, Clearview will still be able to provide its database to US banks and financial institutions under an amendment to Illinois law. Hoan Ton-That, chief executive of Clearview AI, said the company currently had “no plans” to provide databases to agencies other than government agencies.
The settlement does not mean that no product can be sold to Clearview corporations. It will still be able to sell its facial recognition algorithm to companies without a database of 20 billion images. Its algorithm helps to connect people’s faces to any database that the user provides.
“There are many other uses of ClearView technology that the company has the potential to market more widely,” said Mr. Tin-Thatt.
As part of the settlement, Clearview accepted no liability and agreed to pay the plaintiffs اٹ 250,000 in attorney’s fees. This decision is subject to the approval of an Illinois judge.