Face recognition-based startup Clearview AI will reportedly stop tie-ups with private firms and non–law enforcement entities. As reported by BuzzFeed News, the company will also cancel accounts for all entities including government ones in Illinois.
“Clearview is cancelling the accounts of every customer who was not either associated with law enforcement or some other federal, state, or local government department, office, or agency,” reads the filing quoted by BuzzFeed News.
Clearview’s decision to take these steps that would “avoid transacting with non-governmental customers anywhere” is said to be voluntary. For canceling all accounts belonging to any entity based in Illinois, the company argues it should not face an injunction since it is taking steps to comply with the privacy laws of the state.
In case you’re out of the loop, an investigation conducted by BuzzFeed News earlier this year in February found that the company had granted over 2,200 police departments, government agencies, and companies across 27 countries access to its controversial face recognition technology that raised serious privacy concerns.
ClearView got sued in the federal court of Illinois under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) this January by David Mutnick. According to Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, companies are required to release publicly available written consent before collecting critical pieces of information including fingerprints, and facial data. If that sounds familiar, it’s the same law under which Facebook agreed to pay $550 million to settle a lawsuit for unfair practices of facial recognition technology earlier this year.
In Clearview’s defense, Lee Wolosky, an attorney for Clearview AI told BuzzFeed News the following: “Clearview AI continues to pursue its core mission: to assist law enforcement agencies around the nation in identifying perpetrators and victims of crime, including horrific crimes such as trafficking and child abuse. It is committed to abiding by all laws applicable to it.”