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Clearview AI’s facial recognition service called an ‘illegal’ ‘mass surveillance’ tool in Canada

What facial recognition company Clearview does is “mass surveillance”, and “illegal” — the company should delete all images of Canadians from its database, and stop offering its services to Canadian clients,the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said on Wednesday. A joint investigation by four privacy commissioner offices in the country found that Clearview AI’s facial recognition service was a clear violation of the privacy rights of Canadians. The year-long investigation found that Clearview had collected highly sensitive biometric information without the knowledge or consent of individuals. It had also collected, used, and disclosed personal information of Canadians' for “inappropriate” purposes, which cannot be rendered appropriate via consent. The country had initiated its investigation into the company after a damning report in the New York Times had revealed that Clearview AI covertly built up its facial dataset by pulling facial data from 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 person walking on the street, with just a single image. “It is completely unacceptable for millions of people who will never be implicated in any crime to find themselves continually in a police lineup,” said Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada. “Yet the company continues to claim its purposes were appropriate, citing the requirement under federal privacy law that its business needs be balanced against privacy rights”. He said that in…

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