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Clearview AI has been fined £7.5 million by the UK's privacy watchdog for scraping the online data of citizens without their explicit consent. The controversial facial recognition provider has scraped billions of images of people across the web for its system. Understandably, it caught the attention of regulators and rights groups from around the world. In November 2021, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) imposed a potential fine of just over £17 million on Clearview AI. Today's announcement suggests Clearview AI got off relatively lightly.
Clearview AI is back in hot water, this time from the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). The controversial facial recognition giant has caught the attention of global privacy regulators and campaigners for its practice of scraping personal photos from the web for its system without explicit consent. Clearview AI is expected to have scraped over 10 billion photos. "Common law has never recognised a right to privacy for your face," Clearview AI lawyer Tor Ekeland once argued. The UK's ICO launched a joint probe with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) into Cleaview AI's practices. Earlier this month, Australia's Information Commissioner Angelene Falk determined that "the act of uploading an image to a social media site does not unambiguously indicate agreement to collection of that image by an unknown third party for commercial purposes."
There is mounting public concern over the influence that AI based systems has in our society. Coalitions in all sectors are acting worldwide to resist hamful applications of AI. From indigenous people addressing the lack of reliable data, to smart city stakeholders, to students protesting the academic relationships with sex trafficker and MIT donor Jeffery Epstein, the questionable ethics and values of those heavily investing in and profiting from AI are under global scrutiny. There are biased, wrongful, and disturbing assumptions embedded in AI algorithms that could get locked in without intervention. Our best human judgment is needed to contain AI's harmful impact. Perhaps one of the greatest contributions of AI will be to make us ultimately understand how important human wisdom truly is in life on earth.