The UK and Australia have announced a joint investigation into Clearview AI—to cheers of privacy advocates the world over.
Clearview quickly made a name for itself as a facial recognition firm that had scraped billions of images from millions of websites. Ignoring platform policies and user agreements, Clearview even scraped images from the top social media companies, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Things only got worse from there, as the company was found to be monitoring police searches to discourage them from talking to journalists. Despite repeatedly insisting it only sold its software to law enforcement and security personnel, information came to light showing the company had allowed investors and friends to access and use the platform as their own plaything. To top it off, Clearview began selling its software to authoritarian regimes.
It seems the UK and Australia have had enough, as “the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have opened a joint investigation into the personal information handling practices of Clearview AI Inc., focusing on the company’s use of ‘scraped’ data and biometrics of individuals.”
This is further bad news for the company, but great news for the average consumer and privacy advocate alike.