Clearview AI stops facial recognition sales in Canada amid privacy investigation

Clearview AI will no longer sell its facial recognition software in Canada, according to government officials investigating the company. The end of Clearview AI operations in Canada will also mean the end of the company's contract with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, according to an announcement released today by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Canadian privacy officials started investigating Clearview AI in February following media reports about the company's practice of scraping billions of images from social media and the web without consent from the people in photos in order to create its facial recognition system. Critics say Clearview's approach could mean the end of privacy.

Government officials from Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta provinces continue to investigate Clearview AI and Royal Canadian Mounted Police use of its facial recognition software despite Clearview's exit. Police in major cities like Toronto have also used Clearview AI software.

“An ongoing issue under by the authorities is the deletion of the personal information of Canadians that Clearview has already collected as well as the cessation of Clearview's collection of Canadians' personal information,” the announcement reads.

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Clearview's willingness to work with law enforcement, retailers, financial institutions, and various government institutions also attracted the attention of privacy regulators. In April, Clearview AI pledged in an Illinois court filing to no longer sell its facial recognition to private companies. In May, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Clearview AI in llinois alleging privacy and safety violations under state law. Clearview AI has been criticized for ties to far-right and white supremacist groups.

In other recent facial recognition news, last week the Association for Computing Machinery, one of the largest computer science organizations in the world, urged businesses and governments in the United States to stop the use of facial recognition.

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