Privacy and Business Ethics


Clearview AI is a company with a grand vision.  Their goal is to use facial recognition to catalog the world by collecting 100 billion images.  That’s roughly 14 images for every person on the globe.  It’s an ambitious goal they think can be attained within a year.

Clearview collects these images by scraping the web.  Unfortunately, they don’t get consent, arguing it’s not required because images posted on the web are public domain.  They also claim to be providing an essential service to policing organizations around the world, recently using their technology to apprehend a child molester.

Regardless, Canada was the first country to ban the company.  A recent ruling by an Illinois Court has banned them entirely from the state and the ruling extends to a ban from working with any private companies in America.  Another recent ruling in the UK, goes even further by not only banning the company  but also requiring them to remove all images of UK residents from their database.

Bans, fines, lawsuits and protests are piling up.  Clearview says they are providing a necessary service and even if they cease to exist, another company will likely take their place.  This raises an important ethical question:  As technology enables more abilities , even if we can, should we?  It also raises questions about both the role and ability of government regulations to keep pace with technological advances and social norms.

Privacy and data regulation is becoming more common in every jurisdiction.  Governments are reacting to the public’s demand to protect their basic human right to privacy.  There is a growing awareness amongst organizations that collect, process, store and share personal information but many still don’t fully understand their responsibilities.   

We can help you take the first steps toward understanding what you need to know and do to achieve and maintain privacy compliance. Contact us for a free consultation.

Nigel Noticed

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