France Fines Clearview AI For Failing To Pay The Previous Fine

Clearview AI has incurred an additional  fine for its non-compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in France. The national data regulator Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), the country’s data protection authority, issued €5.2 million as an overdue penalty on top of the €20 million it had already imposed on the company in 2022 due to infringement of national privacy regulations.

Clearview AI failed to cooperate with CNIL’s investigations and has ignored multiple requests to stop collecting and using biometric data from individuals in France without their consent. 

The company collects images of faces from the Internet without seeking permission and sells access to a trove of billions of pictures to clients, including law enforcement agencies. Clearview has already been banned from selling its main database to private clients in the United States, and the firm has also been ordered to halt its activities in Canada, Italy and Britain.

Clearview AI also failed to appoint a representative in the European Union, as required by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Despite the fine, Clearview AI has not paid the penalty or ceased its data collection practices, leading to further legal action by CNIL. The French regulator has now imposed sanctions on the company, including the suspension of its facial recognition activities for three months and an additional fine of €20,000 per day until it complies with CNIL’s demands.

The company offers this service to law enforcement authorities. Facial recognition technology is used to query the search engine and find an individual based on its photograph.

Clearview was formed in 2017 and has since attracted almost $40 million in funding from investors. Its business model is to collect photographs from websites, including social networks, and sells access to its database of images of people through a search engine in which an individual can be searched using a photograph. 

Clearview AI has attracted widespread controversy in recent years for a massive privacy violation after it scraped selfies off the Internet and used people’s data to build a facial recognition tool it pitched to law enforcement.

CNIL:     European Union:      Law360:   GDPR Buzz:    Oodaloop:   Security Week:      Techcrunch:     Posteo

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