Clearview AI harvested millions of photos from the Internet to create a facial recognition AI now used by thousands of U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Regulators in Australia, Canada, the European Union, and the U.K. had sued the company, alleging that it had grabbed their citizens’ likenesses from the Internet without permission of those individuals, violating national privacy laws. They demanded the company delete their citizens’ images from the AI’s database.
A court in the U.K. agreed and levied a fine equivalent to $9.1 million against Clearview.
Earlier this month, a British appeals court overturned the judgment, ruling that British law has no jurisdiction over the actions of companies and law enforcement agencies operating outside the U.K.
The court made it clear that the ruling applied only to this case and that companies that sold products internationally could still be liable for violating U.K. privacy laws.
Regulators in France, Greece, and Italy have laid fines of €20 million each, or about $21 million, against Clearview. The company now may be able to skirt those payments if the new British ruling persuades those countries’ courts.
The €60 million in pending fines would likely put the tiny company out of business, The Wall Street Journal noted.