Good News… Clearview AI Lets Canadians Opt Out Of Their Service….. But There’s Bad News

I’ve previously written about Clearview AI and how they treat Canadians who have had their faces sucked up into their facial recognition database. In short, while Canadians could find out if they were in the database, they could not opt out.

CBC News is reporting that Canadians can now opt out, which is good news:

Sometime this week, Clearview quietly posted a link on its website allowing Canadian residents to “opt out.” The company doesn’t ask for individuals’ consent before scraping their images from the internet in the first place.

Here’s the bad news:

Clearview requests a photo of anyone asking to withdraw from search results, even though some may be hesitant to provide further fuel for a company developing facial recognition software.

“To find any Clearview search results that pertain to you (if any), we cannot search by name or any method other than image — so we need an image of you,” the website reads.

Clearview says the supplied photo will not appear in search results and will be “de-identified.” But it says it will still maintain a record of the request. The firm also asks for an email address so a confirmation can be sent when the withdrawal request is completed. 

“Deidentification means that Clearview AI retains only a numerical hash of a photo for the sole purpose of removing persons in that photo from search results and preventing further collection,” the firm’s CEO, Hoan Ton-That told CBC News in an email.

Ton-That has not clarified whether Clearview intends to keep data belonging to Canadians on file despite no longer operating in the country, nor whether photos of Canadians will now be deleted.

Well, that seems sketchy as hell.

Normally I would jump to remove myself from something like this. But given the above paragraphs, I wonder if I am better off leaving my photos in their database as it sounds like my info isn’t being removed. Instead it sounds like it simply won’t pop up as readily. If Clearview AI had said that it would nuke the data that belonged to Canadians, then perhaps I would feel better. But they haven’t said that. I will have to think about what to do next as being a person of African decent, facial recognition has proven to be biased against people like me. Which makes me worry about what will happen with this data.

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