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Australia and UK open joint investigation into Clearview AI

Australia and UK open joint investigation into Clearview AI

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Australia and UK open joint investigation into Clearview AI

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have opened a joint investigation into the personal information handling practices of Clearview AI, focusing on the company’s use of ‘scraped’ data and biometrics of individuals.

The investigation highlights the importance of enforcement cooperation in protecting the personal information of Australian and UK citizens in a globalised data environment.

Commenting on this, Tim Mackey, Principal Security Strategist at the Synopsys CyRC (Cybersecurity Research Centre), said “It really hasn’t been a good few months for facial recognition companies. Starting with the revelation of a data breach at Clearview AI, jurisdictions around the world have put in place moratoriums on the use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement.

“Facial recognition is a form of Artificial Intelligence meaning that building a business around it requires a source of training data. Most professional photographers know that if you take a picture of someone’s face, then you are going to need to obtain permission from that person if you intend to publish or otherwise use that photo. That process is known as obtaining a release and effectively the signed document states how that image could be used. Image websites will of course sell stock photos containing faces, but there too a licence is associated with each photo. Training any Artificial Intelligence system requires large quantities of data, so in the context of facial recognition that becomes large quantities of faces. If you have a limited set of photos, then any conclusions from the AI are suspect due to the bias present in that training set.”

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