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Clearview AI is taking facial recognition privacy invasion case to the Supreme Court

Some jurisdictions have ruled their practices have been illegal.

Clearview AI wants the Supreme Court to rule on a facial recognition lawsuit against it instead of sending the case to an Illinois state court. Regulators in countries such as Canada and Germany have found Clearview’s face recognition AI to be in violation of privacy laws.

Clearview AI has asked the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to review a privacy violations case against it after the court ruled to send the case back to a state court in Illinois. The lawsuit against Clearview was brought by Melisa Thornley, in an Illinois state court. The plaintiff sued Clearview for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Clearview scrapes photos on social media platforms for facial recognition. Thornley claims that the company sold her biometric data to third parties without her consent.

A Bloomberg Law report states that Clearview “plans to argue to the US Supreme Court that Thornley has alleged a concrete and particularized injury that, under Spokeo Inc v. Robins, should satisfy Article III’s standing requirements and keep the case in federal court.”

In the motion to keep the case in federal court, Clearview argued that even if it violated BIPA and caused particularized harm, there “is need of clarification from the Supreme Court, as lower courts have struggled to identify consistent rules or standards.”

Illinois’ BIPA has been a concern for tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Facebook, as it criminalizes the collection of biometric data such as fingerprints, iris scans, and facial recognition images without the consent of users. To win the suit brought by Thornley, Clearview would have to prove that it did not cause a “concrete and particularized injury-in-fact.”
However, the Court of Appeals denied Clearviews request.

Other countries have deemed Clearview AI’s services to be in violation of privacy laws. German regulators demanded that Clearview delete all the data it had on German citizens after an investigation found that the company was violating the EU’s General Data Privacy Regulations (GDPR). Canada also declared the company’s services illegal and demanded that Clearview delete all the data it had collected on Canadians.

Federal courts in the US have referred to Illioins’ BIPA in rulings against facial recognition data collection. One ruling against Facebook at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that “the development of a face template using facial-recognition technology without consent )as alleged here) invades an individual’s private affairs and concrete interests.”

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