Now, in a similar vein, the Italian regulator has fined the company €20 million for breaching the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
A controversial tool for law enforcement
, Clearview AI had seen a marked increase in the use of its service.
Problem: according to the investigation of the Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (GPDP, the Italian equivalent of our CNIL), the data collected by Clearview AI “is processed illegally, without adequate legal basis”.
In other words, its activity goes against the GDPR. Among the violations noted, the GPDP cites:
A violation of the obligation of transparency, because the sign did not sufficiently inform people of the use of their images; A violation of the purpose, the objective being other than that for which the images were initially put online; A breach of data retention with no storage limit.
ClearView AI soon to be restricted?
The investigation was launched "following complaints and reports", in the words of the GPDP. The body adds that in addition to the data breach, the company was also actively tracking Italian citizens and others present in Italy.
The regulator therefore imposed a fine of 20 million euros on the company and ordered it to delete all the data it holds on Italians, in addition to prohibiting it from any further processing of facial recognition in the country. . The decision is ironic: only a few weeks ago, Clearview AI announced during a presentation that it would be able, within a year, to identify practically anyone. Right now, its database is said to include 10 billion faces.
The company's CEO, Hoan Ton-That, defends himself from infringing the regulations and declares: “We only collect public data from the Internet and respect all the standards of confidentiality and law. I'm disappointed with this misinterpretation in Italy, where Clearview AI technology is not doing business. »
The CNIL having granted a period of two months for the deletion of the data, the Italian sanction becomes the most severe against Clearview AI. In November, Britain's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) warned of a possible fine.
The issue of payment of the fine could, however, become a problem. For it to be possible, the US company Clearview AI must have a representative in the EU, another legal requirement that the company has not met. As TechCrunch notes, for lack of a representative, regulators could send the fine to the brand's customers. In other words, law enforcement.
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