Bye Bye, So Long, Farewell…. Clearview AI Leaves Canada

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has announced that facial recognition software provider Clearview AI will no longer offer its services in the country. Let’s break this announcement down:

Clearview AI has advised Canadian privacy protection authorities that, in response to their joint investigation, it will cease offering its facial recognition services in Canada.

This step includes the indefinite suspension of Clearview AI’s contract with the RCMP, which was its last remaining client in Canada.

I read that as Clearview AI doesn’t like to be investigated as it clearly has something to hide. So it’s picking up its marbles and going home.

The investigation of Clearview by privacy protection authorities for Canada, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec remains open. The authorities still plan to issue findings in this matter given the importance of the issue for the privacy rights of Canadians.

An ongoing issue under investigation 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 privacy authorities appreciate Clearview AI’s cooperation to date on the ongoing investigation, and look to the company’s continued cooperation as it is brought to conclusion.

As well, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada will complete its related investigation into the RCMP’s use of Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology.

The joint investigation was initiated in the wake of media reports which stated that Clearview AI was using its technology to collect images and make facial recognition available to law enforcement in the context of investigations. Reports have also indicated the US-based company provides services in a number of countries to a broad range of organizations, including retailers, financial institutions and various government institutions.

Given the investigations are ongoing, no further details are available at this time and interviews are not possible.

I read that as Clearview AI’s problems are not going away anytime soon despite the fact that they picked up their marbles and went home. And it shouldn’t stop as Clearview AI looks like a really shady firm from the perspective of the casual observer. And there’s still the question of if the firm will delete the photos of Canadians if you ask them to. So I for one am happy that Clearview AI is gone from Canada. Let’s hope that other countries, such as the US and the EU really put the screws to them as well.

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