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Smile, your details are being harvested (and sold)

Smile, your details are being harvested (and sold)

Posted on 13th June 2022

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As our regular readers will know, Be-IT has written regularly about the dangers posed by Facial Recognition Technology (FRT).  News recently that Clearview AI has been fined £7.5 million for acting illegally therefore comes as no surprise.

As The Guardian and others report, “Clearview AI has collected more than 20bn images of people’s faces from Facebook, other social media companies and from scouring the web.

“The company not only enables identification of those people, but effectively monitors their behaviour and offers it as a commercial service.”  The UK Information Commissioner deems this to be unacceptable. 

More specifically, the Information Commissioner’s Office said that “Clearview AI broke UK data protection laws in several ways, including: failing to use information of UK residents in a fair and transparent way; failing to have a lawful reason for collecting that information; and failing to have a process in place to stop the data being retained indefinitely.”

Let’s face it (no pun intended), almost all of us use social media constantly.  We all click on ‘accept cookies’ because we can’t be bothered to wait to adjust them.  Yet, if we were told that the police were using FRT to monitor our movements in the streets, we would probably not be happy, especially if this were to then be used for a form of social credits (as happens in China). Similarly, parents might be aghast to learn that it is being used in schools. But of course, this wouldn’t happen in this country, would it?

Fact: several UK police forces, the MOD and the National Crime Agency were using Clearview AI technology until recently, having been offered it on a free trial basis.  They have all stopped now and the company no longer operates in the UK.

Fact: just over a year ago, analysis of 100 countries showed only six that didn’t use FRT. The full table from the report is shown below.  Each country was scored out of 40, with higher scores indicating no or less invasive use of FRT and lower scores highlighting more widespread and invasive use. China was the lowest, with only four out of 40, followed by Russia, with nine out of 40, but the UK was none too great, scoring 17.  This report also said that 70% of governments in their study “are using FRT on a large-scale basis,” and the same percentage of police forces use it. Some 20% of countries have FRT in some schools. Only a handful of countries worldwide have banned its use and even in some of them some use by the police is allowed.

Now, it must be stressed that not all use of FRT is malign.  It has been used to help track the spread of Covid for example, and clearly if it can be used to prevent serious crime and terrorism then that is unequivocally a good thing.  Clearview AI’s CEO claims that his company is a force for good and “that we only collect data from the open internet and comply with all standards of privacy and law.”  The ICO obviously didn’t think so.  And, be honest, do you really trust governments, even democratically-elected ones, never to use your data against you…?

Scott Bentley, Be-IT

Table of use of FRT in major counties.

X.1

Total Score

Total Score (inc. COVID)

Government

Police

Airports

Schools

Banks/Finance

Workplace

Buses

Trains

COVID

China

5

6

0

0

1

0

1

1

1

1

1

Russian Federation

9

10

1

0

1

1

1

2

2

1

1

United Arab Emirates

10

11

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

2

1

Chile

12

13

1

1

2

2

1

2

2

1

1

India

12

13

1

1

2

2

1

2

2

1

1

Japan

12

14

1

0

1

2

1

3

2

2

2

Australia

13

14

1

1

1

3

1

3

2

1

1

Brazil

13

15

3

2

1

1

1

2

1

2

2

Argentina

16

18

1

0

1

5

1

2

5

1

2

France

17

18

2

1

1

5

1

3

3

1

1

Hungary

17

18

1

1

2

5

2

2

2

2

1

Malaysia

17

19

1

2

1

2

1

2

5

3

2

United Kingdom

17

20

2

2

1

5

1

2

2

2

3

Mexico

18

20

1

1

2

5

2

2

3

2

2

United States of America

18

20

2

2

1

3

1

2

5

2

2

Taiwan

19

20

2

1

1

2

1

2

5

5

1

Romania

19

21

1

2

1

1

1

3

5

5

2

Spain

19

24

2

3

2

5

1

2

1

3

5

Kazakhstan

20

22

2

2

3

4

1

5

1

2

2

South Africa

20

22

1

2

2

3

2

3

5

2

2

Thailand

20

22

1

2

2

2

1

5

5

2

2

Sweden

20

25

3

2

2

5

1

3

2

2

5

Zimbabwe

21

23

1

2

2

5

2

5

2

2

2

Turkey

21

23

1

2

1

5

1

5

3

3

2

South Korea

21

23

2

2

2

5

1

2

4

3

2

Peru

21

23

2

2

2

5

1

2

2

5

2

Canada

21

23

3

1

1

2

1

3

5

5

2

Italy

21

23

2

1

2

2

1

3

5

5

2

Uganda

22

23

0

2

2

5

1

5

2

5

1

Philippines

22

24

1

1

2

5

1

5

5

2

2

Belarus

22

27

2

0

1

5

1

5

5

3

5

Ecuador

22

27

1

1

1

5

2

5

5

2

5

Israel

23

24

1

3

1

5

1

2

5

5

1

Bangladesh

23

25

1

2

3

5

1

5

3

3

2

Germany

23

25

2

2

1

3

2

5

5

3

2

Ukraine

24

26

2

2

2

5

1

5

5

2

2

Portugal

24

29

2

2

1

5

2

2

5

5

5

Saudi Arabia

24

29

1

2

2

5

2

2

5

5

5

Netherlands

24

29

3

1

1

5

1

3

5

5

5

Greece

24

29

1

1

2

5

2

3

5

5

5

Myanmar

24

29

0

1

2

5

1

5

5

5

5

Colombia

25

26

5

2

2

5

1

5

3

2

1

Poland

25

26

3

2

2

5

1

2

5

5

1

Egypt

25

27

1

2

2

5

3

2

5

5

2

Venezuela

25

30

2

2

2

5

2

5

5

2

5

Uzbekistan

25

30

2

1

2

3

5

5

5

2

5

Nigeria

25

30

1

5

5

1

1

2

5

5

5

Czechia

25

30

1

2

2

5

2

3

5

5

5

Austria

25

30

1

1

1

5

2

5

5

5

5

Iraq

26

31

1

2

5

5

1

2

5

5

5

Kenya

26

31

3

2

2

5

2

2

5

5

5

Dominican Republic

26

31

1

1

2

5

2

5

5

5

5

Pakistan

27

32

2

2

2

5

1

5

5

5

5

Indonesia

27

32

1

2

2

5

2

5

5

5

5

Vietnam

28

30

1

2

3

5

2

5

5

5

2

Sri Lanka

29

31

5

2

2

5

2

3

5

5

2

Iran

29

34

1

1

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Bolivia

30

32

5

1

5

5

2

2

5

5

2

Serbia

30

32

2

2

5

5

1

5

5

5

2

Afghanistan

30

35

1

5

5

5

2

2

5

5

5

Guatemala

30

35

5

2

2

5

1

5

5

5

5

Ghana

30

35

1

5

2

5

2

5

5

5

5

Nepal

30

35

1

5

2

5

2

5

5

5

5

Papua New Guinea

30

35

1

5

2

5

2

5

5

5

5

Niger

30

35

1

2

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Tajikistan

31

36

2

5

2

5

5

5

5

2

5

Zambia

31

36

1

5

3

5

2

5

5

5

5

Angola

31

36

2

2

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Algeria

31

36

2

2

2

5

5

5

5

5

5

Morocco

32

35

2

2

5

5

3

5

5

5

3

Jordan

33

38

5

5

5

5

1

2

5

5

5

Mozambique

33

38

1

5

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Senegal

33

38

1

5

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Tanzania

34

39

5

5

2

5

2

5

5

5

5

Côte d'Ivoire

34

39

2

5

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Belgium

34

39

5

3

3

5

3

5

5

5

5

Azerbaijan

34

39

5

2

2

5

5

5

5

5

5

Mali

34

39

2

2

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Tunisia

34

39

2

2

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Cambodia

36

41

5

5

5

5

1

5

5

5

5

Burkina Faso

36

41

1

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Cameroon

36

41

1

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Chad

36

41

1

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Guinea

36

41

1

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Rwanda

37

39

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

5

2

Ethiopia

37

39

2

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

2

Democratic Republic of Congo

37

42

5

5

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Honduras

37

42

5

5

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Malawi

37

42

5

5

5

5

2

5

5

5

5

Yemen

37

42

2

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Benin

38

43

3

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Sudan

39

44

5

5

4

5

5

5

5

5

5

Somalia

39

44

4

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Cuba

40

42

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

2

Burundi

40

45

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Haiti

40

45

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Madagascar

40

45

   

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

South Sudan

40

45

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Syria

40

45

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

 

 

Posted in FRT, News, Opinion, Scott Bentley


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