Canadian Official Labels Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition App Illegal Due to Unauthorized “Scraping” of Billions of Images for Its Biometric Database


We’ve got another app stealing data without consent and it also happens to be building a database for use in its facial recognition technology.

Photo by Alex Knight from Pexels.

It’s deja vu all over again here in the news column but this isn’t Paravision AI, but another one by the name of Clearview AI.

And the Canadian government just ruled what it is doing is illegal.

For those of you that might recall our article about Paravision AI, the makers of that app were told to stop what they were doing by the FTC in the United States because they were using user data from a photo upload service to help develop their facial recognition technology.

Clearview AI did something similar but using social media networks resulting in billions of photos being scraped for their facial data.

As the New York Times points out, this software is used by over 2,400 law enforcement agencies in the United States. Canada’s Commissioner Daniel Therrien labeled what the company does “mass surveillance” and declared that the company needed to delete any information from its database on Canadian citizens. This is important because Clearview’s technology isn’t just used by law enforcement in the United States, but in Canada as well.

Clearview’s lawyer Doug Mitchell responded to the commissioner’s statements, saying, “Clearview AI only collects public information from the Internet which is explicitly permitted…Clearview AI is a search engine that collects public data just as much larger companies do, including Google, which is permitted to operate in Canada.”

Facial recognition technology, and, in particular, its use by law enforcement agencies, has emerged as an ongoing privacy concern over the past several years. We’ve also told you about how this kind of thing can go with both ways with protestors in Belarus turning facial recognition technology on the security forces in that country in an effort to identify police involved in cracking down on protestors.

What do you think of Clearview AI’s practices? What about facial recognition technology in general? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.

Don’t forget to check out our other photography news at this link right here.

[New York Times]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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