The walls are closing in on Clearview AI as data watchdogs get tough

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Europe is working on an AI law that could ban the use of “real-time” remote biometric identification systems, such as facial recognition, in public places. The current drafting of the text restricts the use of facial recognition by law enforcement unless it is to fight serious crimes, such as terrorism or kidnappings. 

There is a possibility that the EU will go further. The EU’s influential data protection watchdogs have called for the bill to ban not only remote biometric identification in public, but the police use of web-scraped databases, such as Clearview AI’s. 

“Clearview AI is fast becoming so toxic that no credible law enforcement agency or public authority or other company will want to work with them,” says Ella Jakubowska, who works on facial recognition and biometrics for European Digital Rights, a digital rights group. 

Hoan Ton-That, Clearview AI’s CEO, said he is disappointed the ICO has “misinterpreted my technology and intentions.” 

“We collect only public data from the open internet and comply with all standards of privacy and law,” he said in a statement that was sent to MIT Technology Review. 

“I would welcome the opportunity to engage in conversation with leaders and lawmakers so the true value of this technology which has proven so essential to law enforcement can continue to make communities safe,” he added.

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