American Rights Group Sues AI Facial Recognition Company

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a complaint against facial recognition tool developer Clearview AI. Clearview AI’s facial recognition tool is used by law enforcement organizations to identify suspects and victims. With the technology, innocent people can be acquitted of charges. The software builds its database by obtaining publicly available photos of people from webpages and social media platforms. Then, it analyzes the faces in those images to create a person’s so-called faceprint. To refine its accuracy in tagging images, the software combines the faceprint with people's personal information, such as their name. Even if a person deletes a photo, the image will still be accessible in Clearview AI’s database. Upon filing the lawsuit, the ACLU stated that Clearview AI has violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. This law prohibits companies from collecting and storing individuals’ biometrics, like fingerprints or face scans, without consent. The civil rights group claimed that Clearview AI’s software can put people’s privacy and identity at risk, making them vulnerable to identity theft, data breaches, and unlawful surveillance. In response, Clearview AI asserted that the lawsuit is unreasonable. According to the company, nationally recognized authorities have evaluated its service to make sure that it is not violating any laws. In addition, Clearview AI’s founder said in an interview that the company has taken measures to ensure that its technology is not used inappropriately. A blog entry on the company’s website also states that only law enforcement and security personnel may access the AI service, and it should only be used for legitimate investigative purposes.

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