Britain and Australia announced a joint investigation of US-based Clearview AI’s online harvesting of personal data for facial recognition technology, amid privacy concerns from human rights groups. The two governments’ information commissioners said they would focus on “the company’s use of ‘scraped’ data and biometrics of individuals.”
They promised to cooperate “in protecting the personal information of Australian and UK citizens in a globalized data environment.” “Clearview’s facial recognition app allows users to upload a photo of an individual and match it to photos of that person collected from the internet. It then links to where the photos appeared,” the information commissioners said.
The European Data Protection Board warned last month that the use of Clearview and similar technology by law enforcement agencies would “likely not be consistent with the EU data protection regime.” London’s Metropolitan Police has denied using Clearview databases in its facial recognition operations, while the government said in March that it had “no live or historic contracts” with Clearview AI or its subsidiaries Smartcheckr and Insight Camera.
Responding to the concerns earlier this year, Clearview said its search engine was “available only for law enforcement agencies and select security professionals to use as an investigative tool, and its results contain only public information.” The company announced this week that it would cease operating in Canada, where authorities opened a privacy investigation in February, Canadian media reported.