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Clearview AI facial recognition tool broke Canadian privacy laws, watchdogs say

A new surveillance report says that Canadian use of facial recognition technology by the American company Clearview AI violated federal and provincial laws governing personal information.

In a report today with three provincial counterparts, Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien said the New York-based company’s collection of billions of images of people from the Internet represented mass surveillance and was a clear violation of Canadians’ privacy rights.

Clearview AI technology allows the collection of a large number of images from various sources that can help law enforcement, financial institutions and other customers to identify people.

The investigation by Therrien and the privacy protection authorities of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec claims that Clearview AI’s technology has enabled commercial and law enforcement organizations to compare photos of unknown people with the company’s database of more than three billion images for research purposes.

Therrien announced last year that Clearview AI would stop offering its facial recognition services in Canada in response to the investigation.

The move included the indefinite suspension of Clearview AI’s contract with RCMP, its last remaining customer in Canada.

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