Clearview AI has been hit with another lawsuit in the United States. This time around, the company has drawn the ire of the immigrant rights groups Mijente and Norcal Resist, who filed a lawsuit in conjunction with four activists based in California.
The lawsuit itself was filed in Alameda County superior court, and makes California the third state in which Clearview is now facing legal action. The Vermont Attorney General sued the company for alleged violations of the state’s data and consumer protection laws, while multiple Illinois plaintiffs have filed suits that allege that the company’s collection of facial data without consent is a violation of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. Clearview has suspended all of its operations in Illinois in response to those lawsuits.
The California suit, on the other hand, suggests that Clearview has continued to offer facial recognition services to law enforcement agencies in cities that have banned the practice, including San Francisco and Oakland. The plaintiffs are asking for an immediate injunction that would prevent Clearview from operating in California, and force the company to delete any California residents currently in its system. It would also bar the company from collecting more biometric information in the state moving forward.
For its part, Clearview claims that it follows all of the relevant laws in the jurisdictions in which it operates. The company has similarly argued that its data collection practices are protected by the first amendment.
The four activists in the suit expressed concerns about possible retaliation from California law enforcement, due to their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In that regard, they noted that Clearview makes it much easier for the police to identify them and track their movements in public, even if they only appear in the background of someone else’s photo.
Clearview has reported that the volume of searches on its platform went up following the riots at the US Capitol on January 6. Canadian privacy commissioners have since ruled that the platform violates Canadian law. In doing so, they banned Clearview from selling its services in the country, and demanded that it delete any images of Canadians already in its database.
Source: CBS News
March 15, 2021 – by Eric Weiss