Clearview AI will no longer offer its facial recognition technology in Canada in response to a joint investigation launched by federal and provincial privacy authorities.
This means that the company has indefinitely suspended its contract with the RCMP, which was Clearview AI’s last remaining client in Canada.
The privacy commissioners of Canada, Alberta, B.C. and Quebec will continue their investigation into the company. The commissioners note that they still plan to release findings given the importance of the issue for the privacy rights of Canadians.
“An ongoing issue under investigation by the authorities is the deletion of the personal information of Canadians that Clearview has already collected as well as the cessation of Clearview’s collection of Canadians’ personal information,” the privacy commissioner’s office notes in a news release.
The commissioner’s office will also complete its related investigation into the RCMP’s use of Clearview AI’s facial recognition technology.
The privacy watchdogs launched their joint investigation into the company once media reports revealed that Clearview AI was using its technology to collect images and created facial recognition systems to be used by law enforcement for investigations.
Clearview AI says it only gathers images that are publicly available, and compiles them into a searchable database to help law enforcement. It uses images scraped from social media and other websites to cross-reference uploaded images of people. The system reportedly has three billion photos on its database.
The commissioner’s office states that since the investigation is still on-going, there aren’t any further details at the moment.