Clearview AI to end facial-recognition services in Canada: privacy commissioner

OTTAWA — The federal privacy commissioner says U.S. firm Clearview AI will stop offering its facial-recognition services in Canada in response to an investigation by the commissioner and three provincial counterparts.

The office of privacy watchdog Daniel Therrien says the move includes the indefinite suspension of Clearview AI's contract with the RCMP, its last remaining client in Canada.

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Clearview AI's technology allows for the collection of huge numbers of images from various sources that can help police forces, financial institutions and other clients identify people.

The joint investigation of Clearview by privacy protection authorities for Canada, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec remains open.

Therrien's office says the authorities still plan to issue findings given the importance of the issue for the privacy rights of Canadians.

The investigation followed media reports that raised questions and concerns about whether the company is collecting and using personal information without consent.

One issue under investigation is the deletion of the personal information of Canadians that Clearview has already collected, Therrien's office said Monday.

"The privacy authorities appreciate Clearview AI's co-operation to date on the ongoing investigation, and look to the company's continued co-operation as it is brought to conclusion."

In addition, Therrien's office says it will complete a related investigation focusing on RCMP use of Clearview AI's facial-recognition technology.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020.

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