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    Published on May 11, 2023 last updated on May 11, 2023

    Clearview hit with an additional €5.2M by the French DPA

    (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)

    The CNIL, France's data protection authority (DPA), announced yesterday that it has imposed a penalty payment of 5,2 million euros on Clearview AI, for failing to comply with the order issued in October of last year as part of a sanction decision.

    For context, Clearview AI provides its law enforcement customers with a facial recognition system, which allows them to match photographs with a database of images collected across the internet.

    In 2021, the CNIL found Clearview AI in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for unlawful processing of personal data and failure to take into account the rights of individuals in an effective and satisfactory way. At the time, the French privacy watchdog subsequently gave the company two months to "cease the collection and use of data of persons on French territory in the absence of a legal basis" and "facilitate the exercise of individuals' rights and to comply with requests for erasure." (Source: CNIL website)

    Without any response from Clearview AI within that timeframe, the CNIL decided in October 2022 to impose a maximum financial penalty of 20 million euros, and is now adding a penalty payment of 5,200,000 euros to the fine (100,000 euros per day overdue). 

    In a statement for TechCrunch provided by its PR agency, Clearview denies that European law applies to its activities:

    "Clearview AI does not have a place of business in France or the EU, it does not have any customers in France or the EU, and does not undertake any activities that would otherwise mean it is subject to the GDPR."

    - Clearview via the LAKPR Group (Source: TechCrunch)

    In Europe alone, Clearview has been hit by over 60 million euros of collective fines issued by the UK, France, Greece, and Italy. While European regulators are attempting to impose sanctions, it remains unclear whether most of the fines have been paid.

    In a recent opinion piece on Artificial Intelligence for Yes We Trust, writer Sarah Barker noted:

    "As Clearview continues its operating methods, a dangerous precedent is being set. The company is far from the only one harvesting sensitive data for profit. Chat GPT, Dall-E and countless other AI systems are fed by highly personal online content. The global failure to bring Clearview to account sends a clear message to others - that whatever domestic regulators may say, their current data protection laws are toothless across borders when it comes to AI technology."

    - Sarah Barker, A pivotal moment: The case for urgent international cooperation on AI (Source: Yes We Trust)

    After a temporary ban, ChatGPT is now back in Italy, but the conversation around data privacy and artificial intelligence technologies lives on.

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