Facial recognition: the CNIL imposes a penalty payment on CLEARVIEW AI

10 May 2023

On 13 April 2023, the CNIL decided to impose an overdue penalty payment on CLEARVIEW AI. The company must pay 5,200,000 euros for not having complied with the order issued as part of the sanction decision of October 2022.

Background information

CLEARVIEW AI collects photographs from a wide range of websites, including social networks, and sells access to its database of images of people through a search engine in which an individual can be searched using a photograph. The company offers this service to law enforcement authorities. Facial recognition technology is used to query the search engine and find an individual based on its photograph.

In a decision of 17 October 2022, the restricted committee – the CNIL body responsible for issuing sanctions – imposed a fine of 20 million euros and ordered the company not to collect and process data on individuals located in France without any legal basis, and to delete the data of these individuals, after responding to requests for access it received.

The restricted committee also decided that if the company didn't comply with the order within two months, it must pay a penalty of 100,000 euros per day overdue.

The overdue penalty payment

CLEARVIEW AI had two months to comply with the order and justify  compliance to the CNIL. However, the company did not send any proof of compliance within this time limit.

On 13 April 2023, the restricted committee considered that the company had not complied with the order and consequently imposed an overdue penalty payment of 5,200,000 euros on Clearview AI.

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