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Is This Data Privacy Ruling Correct?

Posted on 24th May 2022

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I find this decision by the UK's Privacy Watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), reported here by the BBC, to be quite bizarre. Clearview AI has been fined more than £7.5m for collecting and using public data (more than 20 billion facial photographs and names) in their facial recognition database.

Whilst I am no fan of facial recognition databases, I find it odd that a company can be punished for collecting and using publicly available data. Once something is published, protections under copyright and privacy regulations are usually very limited. For example, if you upload your photos to Facebook, you have granted Facebook (Meta) ownership of the copyright of your photos (which is why I no longer upload my photos to Facebook); the same applies to many other social media platforms.

I would not be surprised if this decision was successfully challenged.