Clearview AI Deemed Illegal in Canada, App Breaches Privacy

Canadian authorities have ruled that the facial recognition data obtained by Clearview AI is illegal. Investigations conducted by the authorities in question find that the startup company was in violation of Canadian privacy laws after it infringed upon the privacy rights of Canadians.

Based on the findings from the joint investigation spearheaded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the authorities claimed that the activities conducted by Clearview AI, including mining and scrapping photos without the individual’s knowledge, was a danger to many people as it conducted mass surveillance, thereby breaching the privacy of Canadians.

Among the findings from the investigation include Clearview AI having “collected highly sensitive biometric information without the knowledge or consent of individuals.”

Clearview AI Deemed Illegal in Canada

Moreover, the New York-based startup is also being accused of having “collected, used and disclosed Canadians’ personal information for inappropriate purposes, which cannot be rendered appropriate via consent.”

In total, the report finds among the three billion images matched by law enforcement agencies and other similar commercial organizations, Canadians and children were included. This poses a threat to the safety and security of the individuals in question, especially those that have never involved in criminal dealings. These people may be privy to data breaches as well as

Following this, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Daniel Therrien, announced Wednesday, February 3, 2021, that although the Canadian government is not imbued with powers to enforce the removal of photos, they do not condone the actions of Clearview AI in any way.

The Verge reveals that the commissioners are all in agreement in ordering the technology company to stop using and mining the photos of Canadians. Moreover, these persons of authority also said they want the firm to stop offering facial recognition technology in the country and to delete the photos of Canadians within its database.

In response to the allegations and findings given by the Canadian commissioners, Clearview reportedly said that the nation’s privacy laws do not apply to them given that they have not connection to Canada.

In addition, the New York-based firm maintained that since the photos are available in public, they are not required to gain the consent of the people.

In an interview with the New York Times, Hoan Ton-That, chief executive officer of Clearview AI, said that they have stopped operations back in Canada since July of 2020.

While the company CEO said they would not be removing the images of Canadians from its system, individuals who are interested in having their data or images removed from the Clearview database can simply make a request via an opt-out form states the New York Times.