Clearview AI, an American company specializing in face recognition technologies, has been fined 7 7.5 million in the UK and British authorities have announced the removal of personal data of British residents.
The fine – equivalent to 8.85 million euros – is forbidden to illegally use images of individuals collected from the Internet and social networks to create a global database that can be used for face recognition.
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), the UK data protection authority, has ordered the company to stop collecting and using personal data of UK residents publicly available on the Internet and to remove what it has already collected.
According to the authority, the company has created a database of over 20 billion facial expressions online from around the world, without information or approval about their use or collection.
The company provides its customers with a service that allows them to find a person’s online pictures after entering a photo, including the police, underlining the ICO.
“Although Clearview AI no longer offers its services to companies in the UK, the company has customers in other countries”, so it “continues to use the personal data of UK residents,” the ICO underlined in a statement.
John Edwards, the British Information Commissioner, denounced that “the company not only allows the people whose photographs were collected to be identified, but actually tracks their behavior and provides it as a business service.”