A NY headquartered facial recognition AI company has been has been fined £7.5 million ($9.4 million) by a UK privacy regulator, reported CNBC.
Clearview AI has collected images from the web and social media of people in Britain and elsewhere to create a global online database that can be used by law enforcement for facial recognition. The Information Commission’s Office said Monday that the company has breached UK data protection laws.
Clearview has also been fined by regulators in France, Italy and Australia.
The ICO has ordered Clearview to delete data it has on UK residents and banned it from collecting any more. Clearview did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
Clearview writes on its website that it has collected more than 20 billion facial images of people around the world. It collects publicly posted images from social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, as well as news media, mugshot websites and other open sources. It does so without informing the individuals or asking for their consent.
Clearview’s platform allows law enforcement agencies to upload a photo of an individual and try to match it to photos that are stored in Clearview’s database.
John Edwards, the U.K.’s information commissioner, said in a statement: “The company not only enables identification of those people, but effectively monitors their behavior and offers it as a commercial service. That is unacceptable.”