British privacy watchdog wants to fine Clearview of 20 million euros

Britain’s privacy watchdog plans to fine Clearview £17 million. The company allegedly violated British privacy law by applying facial recognition to citizens in the country.

The Information Commissioner’s Office of ICO writes that this is a preliminary decision. The ICO has investigated the American company Clearview AI, which is also active in the United Kingdom. That investigation was done in collaboration with the Australian privacy watchdog. At the beginning of this month, he concluded that Clearview had to stop in the country.

The ICO says Clearview has violated UK privacy law. In that country, it is practically the same as the GDPR. Clearview is said to have collected biometric data from British citizens without good foundation and without people being aware of it. Also, Clearview had not set up a process to stop data collection, and citizens were not informed of the data collection. Moreover, Clearview would not have taken any extra measures for data protection, while that is necessary with biometric data under European and British privacy legislation.

According to the regulator, Clearview was active in the UK and collected photos of citizens’ faces. It is not known how many people are involved; the ICO says it involves “a substantial number” of citizens. According to the ICO, the British police would have used Clearview in a trial, but that has been stopped.

The fine would amount to 17 million pounds or 20 million euros, but has not yet been officially imposed. The regulator first wants to know from Clearview what the reaction is. The fine will be definitively determined on this basis.