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UK, Australia launch joint investigation into controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI

Image representing facial recogntition

Adding to the increasing scrutiny of controversial facial recognition company Clearview AI, the governments of Australia and the UK are now opening a joint investigation into the company. The Information Commissioner’s of the two countries, Thursday said, will investigate the “personal information handling practices” of Clearview AI, focussing on its use of ‘scraped’ data and biometrics of individuals. Both the privacy commissioners will also engage with other data protection authorities who have raised similar concerns, where relevant and appropriate. Increasing scrutiny of Clearview AI: This comes only days after Clearview AI agreed to cease offering its facial recognition services in Canada, following an investigation by Canadian privacy protection authorities. This includes an indefinite suspension of Clearview AI’s contract with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), which was its last remaining client in the country. In May, rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union had sued Clearview AI for allegedly violating Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, and for presenting an “an unprecedented threat to our security and safety”. Clearview AI’s face recognition service is built on a database largely constructed by scouring through the millions of images available on the internet.  Once you feed a person’s image into it, it pulls out all matching faces from its database. The software pulls facial data from all publicly available images online, including from Twitter, Facebook, Google, Instagram, YouTube, news articles, and more. The result is a database of unprecedented scale — over 3 billion images to be exact — to readily identify any…

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