Australia Says US Facial Recognition Software Company Clearview Breached Privacy Law

SYDNEY, Nov. 3 (Reuters) – An Australian regulator on Wednesday ordered facial recognition software company Clearview AI Inc to stop collecting images from websites and destroy data collected in the country after an investigation revealed she was breaking privacy laws.

The private company Clearview, which crosses photos taken from social media websites with a database of billions of images, collected sensitive information from Australians without consent and without verifying whether their matches were correct, the Bureau said. the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

The practices were “well below Australians’ expectations” and carried “a significant risk of harm to individuals, including vulnerable groups such as children and victims of crime, whose images can be searched on the base data from Clearview AI, ”Information Commissioner Angelene Falk said in a statement. declaration.

“The covert collection of this type of sensitive information is unreasonably intrusive and unfair,” she added.

The move shows a growing backlash by regulators against the controversial technology, which is being used or tested by law enforcement agencies around the world. In June, a Canadian regulator discovered that police in that country had broken the law by using Clearview’s technology until it was banned there.

The OAIC is itself investigating the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over a trial of the Clearview software that it conducted between October 2019 and March 2020. The office added on Wednesday that it was still in the process of finalizing this survey.

Overnight, Facebook Inc (FB.O) announced it was shutting down its facial recognition software, saying “regulators are still providing a clear set of rules.” Read more

Representatives for AFP and Clearview were not immediately available for comment.

In Australia, the regulator ordered Clearview to “stop collecting facial images and biometric models of people in Australia, and destroy existing images and models collected in Australia.”

The Australian OAIC does not have the power to impose sanctions or fines for privacy breaches, but said this year in a review of the country’s privacy laws that the threat of sanctions “Would send a strong message about the importance of privacy.”

The UK Information Commissioner’s office, which worked with Australians on the Clearview investigation, said it is still considering next steps as countries have different privacy laws.

Reporting by Byron Kaye. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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