Several European data protection campaign groups filed a legal complaint against Clearview AI on Thursday, alleging that the company’s facial recognition technology had accumulated biometric data from more than 3 billion people without their knowledge and consent. reported by the Associated Press
The European Union has strict data protection rules which have been breached by French, Austrian, Greek, Italian and British groups. According to the complaints, Clearview had no legal basis for the collection and processing of data under the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union. Britain has adopted a similar version of EU data protection rules after leaving the bloc.
Clearview has previously been subject to global scrutiny after being asked in a US lawsuit in March that Clearview do not collect biometric data in California and oblige the company to delete the data. “Clearview AI has never had a contract with any EU customer and is not currently available to EU customers,” said CEO Hoan Ton-That in a statement.
News on Clearview’s data collection, first reported the New York Times reported, raising concerns that the type of observation experienced in China could also occur in Western democracies. According to Privacy International, European data protection laws clearly outline the purposes for which companies may use personal data. “Extracting or even sharing our unique features with the police and other companies goes far beyond what we could ever expect as an online user,” said Ioannis Kouvakas, Privacy International’s London-based legal representative.
Hermes Center in Italy for Transparency and Digital Human Rights, Homo Digitalis in Greece and Noyb in Austria also took part in the challenge. Complaints are based in part on requests from individuals to ask what information a company stores about them. Ton-That said Clearview “voluntarily processed” requests that “contain only publicly available information, just like the thousands of other requests we processed.” Meanwhile, in the UK, Australia and Canada, data protection authorities have launched an investigation against the company.
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